STARKVILLE – Timely hitting and strong pitching dominated the weekend as Mississippi State completed a season-opening four-game sweep of Portland in college baseball action.
The Bulldogs completed the perfect weekend with 7-1 and 6-0 victories in a doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
For the weekend, the Bulldogs outscored the Pilots 31-3, while batting .355 with a team earned run average of 0.75.
“It was a good weekend for our club,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “We had some sporadic offense but we pitched it well all weekend. Our defense was really great, too. We had pitchers throwing strikes for the most part and we backed them up with some real solid defense.”
In Sunday’s nightcap, Luis Pollorena (1-0) threw 4.1 innings of three hit relief to garner the win. Will Cox started and worked three innings for the Bulldogs. Ben Bracewell and John Marc Shelly completed the squad’s first shutout of the season.
Bracewell actually entered in a tight spot in the eighth inning. With two runners on base and MSU only leading 2-0, the junior right-hander got a pair of outs to snuff that threat.
The Maroon and White then blew the contest open with four runs in the home half of the eighth inning. Demarcus Henderson had the big blow in that at-bat with a two-run single. Hunter Renfroe had an RBI-double and Trey Porter had an RBI-single in that at-bat.
MSU finished with nine hits in the nightcap. Adam Frazier, Renfroe and Henderson each had multiple hits.
In the opener, right-hander Kendall Graveman notched a quality start win in a 7-1 decision.
The senior so-captain from Alexander City, Ala., blanked UP on two hits over 6.1 innings and worked around four walks to register the win. Trevor Fitts and Pollorena finished the game for State. Graveman struck out four in recording his 12th career win.
State plated all seven runs in the middle innings, scoring three times Portland starter Zach Torson (0-1) in the fourth inning when the Bulldogs batted through the order. Freshman outfielder Jacob Robson drove in the game’s first run with a career-first single and Frazier added a two-run triple. Senior catcher Mitch Slauter opened the fifth inning with a solo home run and first-time starter Alex Detz doubled in two more when State expanded its lead to 7-0 in the sixth inning.
Frazier and Slauter finished with two hits and two RBI each while both C.T. Bradford and Robson also hit safely twice to lead the Bulldogs’ 12-hit showing.
UP third baseman Jeff Melby collected a pair of singles and Ryan Barr singled in the second inning and drove in the Pilots’ lone run in the ninth inning with an infield groundout.