By Jeff Lockridge/Special to The Journal
NASHVILLE – A long afternoon wait and a pivotal mistake left Mississippi State with another frustrating result against the No. 3 Vanderbilt Commodores.
Vanderbilt sophomore pitcher Tyler Beede improved to 11-0 as the No. 16 Bulldogs stranded 10 runners and paid for the game’s only error in a 5-2 loss on Saturday.
The Commodores (38-6, 18-2 SEC), who won the series opener 3-1 on Friday, will try to complete the sweep today at 1 p.m..
Mississippi State (33-12, 10-10) has not been swept in a league series this season.
The start of the game was postponed four hours, 15 minutes from its scheduled noon start. The new all-turf surface at Hawkins Field was underwater for much of the morning, but the puddles were mostly absorbed once the rain stopped.
Vanderbilt pushed three runs across in the second inning to take a 4-1 lead when second baseman Brett Pirtle allowed Xavier Turner’s ground ball to skip under his glove.
Instead of turning an inning-ending double play with runners on first and third base with one out, which would have kept the score knotted at 1-1, that mistake allowed the Commodores to build a lead against starting pitcher Kendall Graveman (5-4).
“It’s probably my fault that he’s out of position there because he had some coverage responsibilities,” Bulldogs coach John Cohen said. “If he just knocks that ball down and it’s on the infield, we’re going to be fine.”
Graveman lasted five innings, allowing 10 hits and four runs (two earned), with three strikeouts and three walks.
“I feel bad for Kendall, they had five infield hits,” Cohen said.
Beede struck out seven en route to becoming the first Vanderbilt pitcher since David Price to start a season 11-0. But Beede is the first to do so in his initial 11 starts.
His key moment came when he got Pirtle to wave at a 3-2 fastball with the bases loaded for the second out of the fifth inning. Beede then coaxed Wes Rea into a routine grounder to strand three Bulldogs and preserve a 4-2 lead.
“Beede is a legitimate Friday night-type of SEC pitcher, and I thought for the most part we took pretty good swings,” Cohen said. “We hit balls hard. … But, you know, we didn’t get it done.”
Hunter Renfroe drove in two runs and Adam Frazier and Alex Detz were each 2-for-5 at the plate for Mississippi State. Tony Kemp was 4-for-4 with two runs scored to pace the Commodores.
T.J. Pecoraro (1-1, 4.72) gets the start today for Vandy. Jacob Lindgren (4-1, 2.54) will get the ball for the Bulldogs.