STARKVILLE – While runs were a premium, victories kept coming for the Mississippi State baseball team Sunday afternoon.
The Bulldogs completed a weekend four-game series sweep of St. Joseph’s by recording 3-2 and 2-0 victories on a brisk afternoon for baseball at Dudy Noble Field.
In the opener, the quartet of Kendall Graveman, Luis Pollorena, Myles Gentry and Ben Bracewell combined to hold the Hawks to six hits and one earned run. In the nightcap, Will Cox, Preston Brown, Chad Girodo, Gentry and Jonathan Holder combined on the squad’s fourth shutout of the season.
“A lot of people would be worried when you see starting pitcher go five or six innings,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “However, we have a lot of hot arms in the bullpen and we are going to use them. We will pitch it based on matchups. We really like our starters, but we also really like what we have coming out of the bullpen.”
MSU improved to 15-0 while moving into the last week of its season-opening 19-game homestand. St. Joseph’s fell to 2-8.
In the nightcap, the Bulldogs got all the offense they needed in the third inning. A hit batsman, two fielding errors and a passed ball led to the scores. A single by Alex Detz was the lone hit in the inning.
MSU finished with five total hits, including the fifth multiple hit game for Detz.
Will Cox (2-0) allowed four hits and walked one in five-plus innings of work to earn the win. Preston Brown got a pair of critical outs with two runners on base, in relief of Cox. Chad Girodo and Myles Gentry then held things right there, before Jonathan Holder struck out the side in the ninth inning for his fifth save.
“Our pitching staff has been remarkable,” Cohen said. “Our kids understand their roles. Will had a good start. He got a little tentative early but kept his composure and gave us five good innings.”
Gentry appeared in both games and has now made a team-best eight appearances. Starting pitcher Kendall Graveman was also lifted in the sixth inning of the opener. Pollorena (2-0) nabbed the win as the Bulldogs rallied from a 2-1 deficit with two scores in the sixth inning.
An RBI-single by Detz was the game-tying hit. An RBI-single by Hunter Renfroe plated the go-ahead score.
MSU finished with nine hits, including three by Detz and two each by C.T. Bradford and Renfroe.
“Our expectations are high because the veterans have set the bar so high. We are playing with a lot of confidence now. Once the weather warms up, I think our bats will, too.”
MSU hosts Mississippi Valley State at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.