STARKVILLE – Mississippi State signed the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class last year.
Three true freshmen from that signing class played vital roles in the Bulldogs’ victories in a doubleheader on Saturday.
Gavin Collins had two hits, including a double, and threw out four runners from behind the plate in game one, while Reid Humphreys had a pinch-hit, game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning to give MSU a 4-3 win over Eastern Illinois.
Humphries followed up by adding a pair of hits including his first home run in Game 2, while rookie Austin Sexton threw six shutout innings in a 7-1 victory over Michigan State in the nightcap.
“Our freshman class has a lot of talent and today was just a day to show that,” Sexton said.
The wins kept the No. 18 Diamond Dogs undefeated in the Diamond Classic following a 4-2 win over Michigan State on Friday night. Mississippi State (9-4) will face Eastern Illinois in the weekend finale today at 3 p.m. with freshman right-hander Dakota Hudson (0-1, 2.57 ERA) taking the mound for the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State collected 11 hits in Saturday’s opener against Eastern Illinois (2-8). Collins, Wes Rea, Jake Vickerson and Alex Detz all had two hits in the contest with Collins and Vickerson both adding doubles.
Humphreys pinch hit, walk-off single with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth made up for a game-tying two-run homer by EIU’s Frankie Perrone in the eighth.
“It’s definitely fun to go out there and at least have a role on the team,” Humphreys said. “I know I’m not going to be out there every day but if my number gets called I’ve got to be focused and try to go in there and get the job done.”
Jacob Lindgren (1-0) earned the win in relief. Bulldog starter Trevor Fitts lasted a career-high 62⁄3 innings giving up a run on five hits with eight strikeouts and a walk.
MSU 7, Michigan State 1
Humphreys picked right up where he left off in Game 1 leading off the second inning with his first career homer. Mississippi State continued the offensive attack with 13 hits in a 7-1 victory in Game 2 against Michigan State.
Humphreys, Detz, Demarcus Henderson, Seth Heck and Brett Pirtle all had multiple hits for the Diamond Dogs.
Sexton earned the win in his first decision lasting six shutout frames allowing just three hits and two walks while fanning four.
Derrick Armstrong tied a 33-year old school record with four stolen bases against the Spartans.