By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
Recapping No. 14 MSU’s 6-1 win over Central Arkansas in the NCAA Starkville Regional title game at Dudy Noble Field on Monday.
• The buzz: MSU (46-18) bounced back from a sloppy Sunday, attacking early and getting brilliant relief work from senior Chad Girodo in the last game at Dudy Noble Field this season. The Bears (42-22) missed some early opportunities to get on the board, mostly thanks to Girodo’s “masterful” work, to use coach John Cohen‘s word. With the win, MSU advances to the super regional round for the fifth time since the round was introduced in 1999, and the second time under Cohen.
• Big inning: MSU opened up a 4-0 lead with two runs in the fourth. Demarcus Henderson looped a double to right-center field, and then with two outs Adam Frazier drove him home with an opposite-field single. Alex Detz singled, and then Hunter Renfroe singled to drive in Frazier.
• Key stats: UCA committed three errors, leading to two unearned runs. … The Bears left 10 men on base, MSU left eight. … UCA was 1 of 13 with runners in scoring position, while MSU was 4 of 14.
• UCA at the plate: The Bears had six hits. … Garrett Brown had two hits, including a leadoff double in the ninth. He scored his team’s lone run on Forrestt Allday‘s single that inning.
• MSU at the plate: The Bulldogs had 11 hits. … Renfroe went 3 of 4 with two RBIs and a run scored. … Detz, Frazier and Henderson had two hits apiece. Frazier had two RBIs.
• UCA on the mound: Starter Bryce Biggerstaff, who’d thrown five innings and 74 pitches just two days ago, lasted 3 2/3 innings tonight. He allowed five runs (three earned) on seven hits with a strikeout and a walk. … Blake Clayton hurled 3 1/3 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with three Ks and no walks. … Clint Green pitched one shutout inning, giving up one hit.
• MSU on the mound: Starter Ben Bracewell gave up no runs on one hit in 2 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked two. … Girodo (7-1) struck out a career-high 12 in 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits with two walks.
• Quotable: “I felt Benny went out tonight and really set the tone for us, and Chad was unbelievable. We knew he was very capable of what he did.” – Cohen
• Bottom line: MSU plays Virginia (50-10), the No. 6 national seed, in the super regional round. The Cavaliers finished off their regional victory Sunday by defeating Elon. We’ll have details on the series in just a bit.
• All-Regional Team:
P Connor Gilmore, Central Arkansas
P Chad Girodo, MSU
C Michael Marietta, Central Arkansas
1B Wes Rea, MSU
2B Brett Pirtle, MSU
3B Chesny Young, Mercer
SS Justin Treece, Central Arkansas
OF Ethan Harris, Central Arkansas
OF Nick Zaharion, South Alabama
OF Hunter Renfroe, MSU
DH Alex Detz, MSU
Most Outstanding Player: Detz
Read more in Tuesday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.