STARKVILLE – Mississippi State sophomore right-hander Will Cox continued the theme of dominant pitching Sunday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
Cox matched a career best with seven innings of work, allowing just two hits as the Bulldogs knocked off Samford 8-1 in the final game of the Diamond Classic presented by Polk’s Meat Products.
“Will had good location and movement,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “He has a chance to be a really solid pitcher for us. He pitched well today against a very good offensive team in Samford. I liked what we saw on the mound throughout the weekend.”
MSU won all four games it played in its own invitational tournament, including beating Samford twice. The Diamond Dawgs’ perfect 9-0 start matches the 2006 squad, which won its first 18 games of the season. Through nine games, MSU has allowed 48 hits and 11 earned runs, while posting a team earned run average of 1.22.
“We have several guys we trust on the mound in certain situations,” Cohen said. “Offensively, we had some mistakes, such as not getting a squeeze down. In all, we did a good job of hitting and had some key hits.”
MSU pounded out 12 hits in the victory. Junior first baseman Alex Detz had his first three-hit game as a Bulldog. Adam Frazier and Darryl Norris each added multiple hits.
The Bulldogs broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the fourth inning. Detz had an RBI-single and Nick Ammirati had an RBI-double in that inning. The lead grew to 7-0 an inning later with a two-run double by Detz and two-run single by Derrick Armstrong.
Samford (5-4) finally touched Cox for a solo home run by Phillip Ervin in the seventh inning.
Cox faced 24 batters, with seven strikeouts and one walk. Trevor Fitts and John Marc Shelly threw an inning apiece in relief.
In Sunday’s tournament opener, Samford scored three times in the ninth inning to defeat Purdue, 6-3.
MSU hosts Rhode Island at 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at Dudy Noble Field.