FINAL: MSU 8, UAB 1 (NCAA Regional); Samford Next

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | Recapping MSU’s 8-1 win over UAB in the NCAA regional at Dick Howser Stadium on Saturday.

The buzz: MSU (40-23) lives to see another day. The bats finally came alive after 13 scoreless innings to start this regional, with Sam Frost of all people sparking things. Starting pitcher Kendall Graveman was solid for the time he was in there, and the MSU bullpen, per usual, brought it home.

Big inning: Frost got it going in the fifth inning with a two-out, two-run double for a 2-0 lead. MSU poured it on in the sixth with five runs. That inning began with a leadoff double by Hunter Renfroe (his team-leading 16th) and included three bunts. Wes Rea‘s bouncing double down the third base line scored two for a 4-1 lead. Mitch Slauter had a sac RBI, and Trey Porter slapped a run-scoring single.

Key stats: Each team committed two errors, leading to two unearned runs for MSU’s offense and one for UAB’s. … MSU turned two double plays, giving it 70 on the year, highest in the nation.

MSU at the plate: State had nine hits. … Frost had a season-high three RBIs. … Matthew Britton scored three runs and had his first career double in the seventh inning. He finished with two hits, as did Trey Porter. … Pitcher Luis Pollorena got the start in right field – his first career position start at MSU – and had a bunt single with a run scored. … Adam Frazier had his 13-game hitting streak snapped, although he was intentionally walked twice and scored a run.

UAB at the plate: The Blazers had six hits. … Keith DePew was 2 of 3 and scored UAB’s lone run in the fifth, cutting MSU’s lead to 2-1. Pinch hitter Tyler Mims knocked him in with a groundout. … UAB left eight men on base, four in scoring position.

MSU on the mound: Graveman went 3 1/3 innings, allowing no runs on one hit with five strikeouts and two walks. It did not look like his groin injury affected him, and Graveman was pulled after issuing a walk and hit-by-pitch. … Ross Mitchell (3-0) earned the win. He tossed one inning, giving up one run on one hit and walking one. … Caleb Reed, making his 96th overall appearance (92nd in relief), pitched the final 4 2/3 innings for his ninth save of the season. He gave up no runs on four hits with four strikeouts and no walks.

UAB on the mound: Starter Ryan Nance (4-4), a Brandon native, gave up two runs on two hits in 4 2/3 innings. He retired the first 11 batters of the game, struck out a career-high seven and walked four. … UAB used three relievers, with Chase Mallard getting tagged for five runs (three earned) on three hits in one inning.

Bottom line: It’s not easy to come back from a Day 1 loss to win a regional, but MSU has the pitching to do it. Question is, will the offense keep it up? The Bulldogs will get a rematch with Samford (40-22), an 8-1 loser to Florida State tonight, at 11 a.m. CT Sunday in another elimination game. Samford beat MSU 5-0 on Friday. If MSU wins tomorrow, it will play a second game at 5 p.m. versus FSU, and would have to beat the Seminoles on Monday as well to advance. Samford will pitch senior right-hander Kyle Putkonen (3-5, 5.50 ERA) tomorrow. MSU has not announced its starter.

Quotable: <em>”The way we’ve been this season, once we get one run we kind of get rolling.” – Frost

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