STARKVILLE – Dudy Noble Field experienced power outage during the middle of the eighth inning that halted play for 37 minutes.
The power outage from Mississippi State’s offense began much earlier than that. Not even the second-largest Super Regional crowd of 12,913 were able to generate enough energy to revive the Bulldogs’ bats in a 1-0 loss to Arizona in Game 1.
It was the first time MSU had been shutout since Feb. 20 on opening weekend. The Bulldogs flew out 10 times and struck out nine others and finished with only five hits.
Arizona starting pitcher Bobby Dalbec “did a good job throwing strike one with multiple pitches,” said MSU third baseman Gavin Collins. “He didn’t leave a lot of balls over the middle of the zone. His misses were either off the plate or up, they weren’t anything we could get good barrel on. He had a great tempo to the game and we didn’t slow him down.”
Dalbec, who was drafted in the fourth round as a third baseman earlier in the day by the Boston Red Sox, baffled the Bulldogs for 8 2/3 innings. Making just his fifth start of the season, Dalbec struck out nine and walked two as he improved to 10-4 on the year.
“They weren’t picking him up very well,” said Arizona coach Jay Johnson. “He did a good job with his ability to stay hot during the delay. He did a nice job preparing. He is my favorite kind of pitcher, one that can start and finish games as well.”
State went hitless off Dalbec from two outs in the third inning until two outs in the ninth. At one point during that span, Dalbec sat down 11 straight.
“It’ hard to prepare for him from video because he’s so tough to figure out,” said MSU coach John Cohen. “His arm slot and the spin on his breaking ball is different and I think that’s why he had so much success.”
The Diamond Dogs attempted a two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth with back-to-back singles by Ryan Gridley and John Holland but Arizona brought out Cameron Ming to strike out the SEC’s leading hitter Jake Mangum on three pitches to earn his second save.
Arizona (43-21) collected seven hits led by JJ Matijevic, who was 2-for-4. It was Matijevic’s double to the wall in left in the sixth inning off Bulldogs starter Dakota Hudson that plated the game’s lone run.
Hudson (9-5) pitched 6 1/3 innings giving up a run on seven hits with six strikeouts and a walk.
“I got back into the basics of my routine and had a great bullpen with coach (Wes) Johnson going into this start,” Hudson said. “I feel like I got my feel back and was able to put everything in the zone.”
Daniel Brown was flawless over the final 2 2/3 innings for Mississippi State, striking out three.
The Diamond Dogs (44-17-1) face elimination today at 5 p.m. on ESPNU and will face Arizona’s ace, senior right-hander Nathan Bannister (11-2, 2.63 ERA).
“We don’t get shutout every often and it’s going to be a different look (Saturday) and we’re going to come out ready to attack,” Collins said.
MSU did not announce its starter following Friday’s loss.