By MSU Media Relations
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State received another strong pitching performance Sunday afternoon as Will Cox and Jonathan Holder combined on a five-hitter, as the Bulldogs knocked off Mississippi Valley State 5-1 in a college baseball game played at Dudy Noble Field.
The Bulldogs (6-1) pounded out 35 hits while winning all four games they played during a three-team, double round-robin event held on the MSU campus. In Sunday’s early game, Kansas (5-2) beat Mississippi Valley State, 14-1 in seven innings.
“Will threw a really clean game today,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “He is a strike thrower. We knew that coming out of high school. When his 87 (mph) or 89 becomes 92 or 93, he is going to be a real force in this league. Right now, he is a good pitcher.”
In his MSU debut, Cox, a former Amory High School standout, allowed three hits and one unearned run in seven innings of work. While facing 24 batters, Cox struck out and walked none. Fellow freshman Jonathan Holder, a Gulfport High School product, made his third appearance and pitched two innings of no-hit relief to earn the squad’s second save of the season.
“I can’t say enough about the defense,” Cox said. “(Catcher) Mitch (Slauter) does a great job of calling pitches. It is just up to me to go out there and execute. I knew early in the week I was going to start. It kept building up to today. I think the whole town of Amory was here. This is an awesome feeling to have a chance to get on that mound and pitch.”
The Bulldogs plated two runs in the first inning. Still protecting a 2-1 lead, MSU expanded on that lead with a single score in the sixth inning and two more scores in the eighth inning.
Daryl Norris ripped a two-double in the first inning to start the Bulldog scoring.
The Delta Devils (0-7) responded with an unearned run in the third inning. Edmund Cheatham reached on an infield error and later scored on RBI-double by Daniel Anderson. After that hit, Cox found a groove and retired 13 batters in a row.
MSU built the lead to 3-1 on an RBI-double by Adam Frazier in the sixth inning. C.T. Bradford and Wes Rea had back-to-back RBI-singles in the eighth inning for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs finished with 11 hits, including multi-hit games by Frazier, Rea and Norris.
For the weekend, the Bulldogs hit .280. Rea and Frazier led the way with six hits apiece.
On the mound, the MSU pitching staff has now thrown three different games where it did not allow an earned run. The Bulldogs posted a 1.25 ERA, while allowing 24 hits and five earned runs in 36 innings of tournament player over the weekend.
“We like our freshmen arms,” Cohen said. “(Pitching coach) Butch (Thompson) does a great job with them. However, we have some veteran pitchers on the staff who was are also great leaders. They do a great job of helping these guys get ready to pitch at this level.”
The Bulldog host Memphis (3-3) at 4 p.m. Wednesday.