STARKVILLE – The streak continued on Sunday for Mississippi State, and so did the sweeps from Southeastern Conference baseball foes.
In their final home game of 2010, the Bulldogs (21-31 and 5-22 in the SEC) fell 14-4 to Vanderbilt and dropped their 12th straight outing inside league play. For MSU, it was also their fourth straight SEC weekend to be swept and the most SEC losses suffered in school history.
“It’s obviously not how I envisioned it,” said MSU first baseman Connor Powers, one of seven Bulldog seniors playing their final weekend at Dudy Noble Field. “I wish it had went better but these aren’t going to be the things that I remember about my career playing at Dudy Noble Field.”
MSU starter Luke Bole (2-2) was charged with the loss, allowing five runs on four hits in just three innings. The Bulldog freshman southpaw also struggled with his control, walking four on the day.
Bole was yanked in the third inning after giving up three runs in the frame. Vanderbilt stretched its lead to 4-0 following Bryan Johns’ first home run of the season. Trey Johnson relieved Bole but could not stop the bleeding either. The Commodores scored seven in the third inning to take a commanding 8-0 lead.
“Obviously, Luke Bole threw 75 pitches in three innings, walked four guys in three innings and gave up four hits,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “So you’re not going to win with that. Again, we think Luke is going to be really good. What we really need to be doing with Luke is what we can’t afford to do right now.
“He needs to be throwing two innings in the middle of the week. But instead, he’s starting on the weekend in the SEC.”
The Bulldog did collect 11 hits on the day but left seven stranded and grounded into two double plays. Ryan Duffy had three of those hits for State while Cody Freeman and Jonathan Ogden each had a pair of hits.
While the Vandy bats had another field day against MSU pitching, the Commodores’ starting pitcher Jack Armstrong kept the Bulldogs’ offensive production silent most of the day. Armstrong (7-1) scattered nine hits in his seven innings of work and allowed just two earned runs. Armstrong struck out four and walked two.
“I don’t think we are that easy to pitch to,” said Cohen. “But we’re putting some guys in tough situations on the mound. In a normal game, it’s a 6-4, 5-4 type of game. Vanderbilt came in hitting .286 as a team in conference play before this weekend.
“We’re swinging the bat as well as those guys are. It’s just what’s different is who is on the mound, quite frankly. If you can’t stop somebody on the mound then you are swimming upstream the whole time.”
Paul Jones/Special to the Journal