STARKVILLE – Mississippi State erased an early five-run deficit Tuesday night as the 14th-ranked Bulldogs (20-4), nipped Alcorn State 7-6 at Dudy Noble Field. The win closed out a run of 23 home games in the first 24 for Mississippi State and made the Bulldogs the SEC’s second 20-game winner for 2013.
ASU (4-18) erupted for four runs in the first frame off MSU starter Brandon Woodruff stretched that advantage to 5-0 on Alvin Jackson’s RBI double in the second inning.
The Bulldogs battled back. Catcher Nick Ammirati delivered the first of his three hits to open the third inning when State plated three runs. Two of those runs scored on a double by Hunter Renfroe. Ammirati singled and Adam Frazier doubled to open the third inning when State scored twice to knot the score at 5-5. Ammirati’s third hit of the game sent Jacob Robson home with the go-ahead run in the fifth inning and Daryl Norris’ two-out double tacked on an insurance run for a 7-5 MSU lead in the sixth.
“Ammirati has come along as a hitter. He got us going offensively tonight after our rough start,” said head coach John Cohen. “Alcorn State played well and seemed to make every play early on. But Myles (Gentry) was outstanding tonight, and with 15 strikeouts, you have to feel pretty good about your pitching staff.”
After a slow start, Bulldog pitching held ASU at bay. Freshman Myles Gentry, the third of six MSU hurlers in the game, struck out eight and blanked the Braves over four frames. The Germantown, Tenn., product struck out the first five batters he faced en route to his second career win. At a key point in the game senior Chad Girodo fanned three batters in the eighth after ASU parlayed a walk and a pair of MSU errors into a run that had cut the State lead to a run at 7-6. Sophomore relief ace Jonathan Holder then retired the final three batters in the ninth, two via strikeout, to successfully close out the game and earn his seventh save.
Mississippi State pitchers matched a season-high with a combined 15 strikeouts and held the Braves hitless over the final seven frames.
Adam Frazier reached base four times in five plate appearances with a walk and three singles. Ammirati had a career-best three hits while Renfroe drove in a pair of runs and extended his current hitting streak to nine games. Frazier has now had a hit in 21 of MSU’s 24 games.
Mississippi State resumes SEC play with a three-game set this weekend in Lexington, Ky., taking on the eighth-ranked Wildcats (16-3, 2-1 SEC) in State’s first road games of the 2013 campaign. Friday’s series-opener is set for 5:30 p.m. CDT at Cliff Hagan Stadium.