By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Even before his complete-game shutout was finished, Kendall Graveman received a resounding ovation from the Mississippi State faithful.
After head coach John Cohen paid a mound visit to the senior right-hander in the eighth inning, the 8,564 in attendance at Dudy Noble Field rose and cheered, and Graveman responded by getting an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
He then finished it off in the ninth to give MSU a 2-0 win over Florida and its first SEC series victory of the season. State (26-8, 5-6 SEC) won 7-3 on Friday and will go for the sweep at 1:30 p.m. today.
It was the second consecutive complete-game win for Graveman (4-2), who allowed five hits, struck out two, walked two and got 19 groundball outs.
“His last two weekends, I don’t remember two starts like that in a long time, really by anybody that has played for me,” Cohen said.
Cohen had also visited Graveman in the seventh after a one-out walk, and then Florida (14-18, 4-7) got a single. Graveman didn’t blink, getting Zack Powers to ground into the Gators’ third double play of the game.
Graveman went the distance at Arkansas last week, and later described it as an “out-of-body experience.” Saturday’s effort, he said, didn’t come as easily.
“I had to work harder today,” he said. “The stuff wasn’t as good. I wasn’t throwing the changeup for a strike as much. …
“I was begging coach (Butch) Thompson to let me go back out in the ninth, and he has enough faith in me to let me go out.”
MSU scored twice in the first inning on Wes Rea’s bases-loaded walk and C.T. Bradford’s RBI groundout.
“I felt like they kind of laid down after we put that up,” said shortstop Adam Frazier, who doubled to start the inning and finished with two hits.
Cohen said Jacob Lindgren, who’s been out with a sore elbow, will start on the mound today unless he feels “any discomfort at all” during pregame warmups.