It took the first four innings of being manhandled by nasty UAB pitching by Brandon native Ryan Nance but Mississippi State (40-23) finally broke open the bats in the 5th with a 3B Sam Frost two out, 2-RBI double in right-centerfield. Before that, Nance had pitch four beautiful innings including three out of four three-up-and-three-down innings. That pivotal Frost hit seem to do loads for MSU offensively. State had one baserunner through the first four innings. They followed with 17 from the 5th to the 9th inning.
In the 6th, MSU's CF Hunter Renfroe doubled to start things off and was followed by a beautiful bunt by RF Lois Pollorena, which was his first career hit. 1B Wes Rea then belted a 2-RBI double down the third base line and Slauter sacrificed bunted Rea in to push the Bulldogs to a 5-1 lead. Later that inning, LF Marcus Henderson hit a slow grounder to shortstop but was errored by UAB, scoring intentially-walked SS Adam Friazier (who also saw his 13-game hitting streak come to an end.) DH Trey Porter also joined the scoring party with an RBI single. MSU sent 11 total batters to the plate in the 6th and had four hits, two walks, and five runs.
Frost added his third RBI of the game in the 7th with a sacrifice fly.
As for Bulldog pitching, Kendal Graveman went 3.1 innings and allowed only one hit on two walks and 5 Ks on 59 pitches. Ross Mitchell, who picked up the win, threw one inning and gave up one earned run off UAB PH Tyler Mims' groundout. RHP Caleb Reed from Cleveland, MS came in and finished things off for the Bulldogs the rest of the way. Reed picked up his ninth save of the year with 59 total pitches through 4.2 innings and only allowing four hits with 4 Ks.
State now waits to see who they'll play tomorrow at 11 a.m. Central in yet another elimination game on ESPN3.com. Florida State and Samford face off tonight on ESPN2 at 6 p.m Central.
We said hitting would need to show today to win. Well, they finally showed. MSU pitching still looks solid for two more games, too.