PEARL | Recapping MSU’s 5-0 win over Southern Miss at Trustmark Park on Tuesday.
• The buzz: Despite hitting poorly with runners in scoring position, MSU earned a comfortable non-conference win thanks to the long ball. Two-run homers by Mitch Slauter and Hunter Renfroe were more than enough to back a solid collective pitching effort. The win comes one week after MSU (25-16) lost here to Ole Miss, a game that left coach John Cohen questioning his team’s mental toughness.
• Big inning: MSU led 1-0 but was 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position through three innings, and then Slauter came through with a two-out, two-run blast to left field, his second homer of the season. Renfroe added his two-run shot an inning later (his third HR).
• Key stats: MSU was 1 of 12 with runners in scoring position. … USM (23-17) stranded nine runners. … MSU pitchers had eight strikeouts versus three walks, while USM’s had seven K’s against six walks.
• MSU at the plate: Slauter and Adam Frazier had two hits apiece. … Daryl Norris drove in the game’s first run on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice in the third. … MSU had five hits and stranded seven runners.
• USM at the plate: USM had six hits. … Kameron Brunty had two hits, while pinch hitter Joe Martin doubled in the ninth. … MSU pitchers retired nine of the last 11 USM batters, and one of the two that reached was erased when he was caught stealing.
• MSU on the mound: Starter Brandon Woodruff, a freshman from Wheeler, tossed four innings and got a no-decision, but he was solid. He gave up four hits, fanned four and walked two. USM had runners at second and third in the first inning and loaded the bags in the fourth and couldn’t push anybody across. … Nick Routt (2-4), the first of three relievers, earned the win by throwing three innings of one-hit ball, striking out one and walking one. … Ross Mitchell tossed the final two innings, allowing one hit while fanning three.
• USM on the mound: Starter Boomer Scarborough (1-2) lasted two innings, allowing one run on one hit, walking three and striking out three. … Reliever Jay Myrick gave up both home runs, so he was charged with four runs on two hits with two strikeouts and three walks. … Cody Livingston and Chase Horn also pitched.
• Bottom line: The Bulldogs have won four in a row overall and four in a row versus USM. The inability to score guys from second and third base was discouraging, but finding another kind of way to win offensively was good to see. And the strong pitching in a mid-week game further illustrates how deep this staff is, which should serve MSU well come the postseason.
• Quotable: “Eventually you’re going, wow, what’s it going to take for one to fall. I know all coaches feel that way, but our kids especially, we just needed something good to happen, and finally when the ball left the yard, it helped.” – Cohen, referring to a couple of line drives early in the game that found USM infielders