By Miss. State Media Relations
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State scored a season-high 14 runs as the Diamond Dawgs took a weekend series from Belmont with a 14-5 college baseball win Sunday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU improved to 7-1 on its season-opening 14-game homestand. Meanwhile, Belmont fell to 3-5.
The Bulldogs pounded out 13 hits and received a solid pitching outing from the trio of Evan Mitchell, Chad Girodo and Andrew Busby. Mitchell (2-0) picked up the win after working the first six innings, allowing five hits and two runs (both earned), with three strikeouts.
MSU busted out the gates early thanks to a three-run home run from Jarrod Parks in the first inning. The Bulldogs increased the lead with a two-run single by Daryl Norris in the second inning.
“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was going to go,” Parks said. “The winds were blowing straight out, so it wasn’t going to take much to get it out. We wanted to attack early because we felt like they did not have much left in the bullpen.”
After Belmont scored a lone run in the fourth inning, the Bulldogs took control of the contest with five runs in the home half of that inning.
C.T. Bradford started the inning with a bunt single. After a popup, Norris drew a walk. Jonathan Ogden and Cody Freeman followed with back-to-back RBI-singles. An infield error scored the additional runs in that at-bat.
The Bulldogs extended the lead with a two-run home run from Ryan Collins in the seventh inning and a solo shot from Taylor Stark in the eighth inning.
“I was really pleased with how we started all the way around today,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “We were really focused. I thought our pitchers pitched well all weekend.”
Bradford was the lone multiple hitter for the Bulldogs.
Belmont finished with 10 hits. Derek Hamblin had three hits, while Nate Woods had two hits. Woods had RBI-singles in the fourth, sixth and eighth innings. The Bruins closed their scoring with three runs in the top of the eighth inning.
Girodo was touched for four hits and three runs (all earned) in 1.1 innings of relief work. Busy worked the Bulldogs out of the tight spot in the eighth inning and closed the contest on the mound.
James Bucklew (0-2) was chased during the five-run fourth inning and took the loss. Josh Davis, Tyler Graskewicz, Matt Hamann and Blake Harvey followed in relief for the Bruins.
The Bulldogs host Alcorn State at 5 p.m. Tuesday.