A successful Sunday saw Mississippi State (4-0) take a pair of games from the Portland Pilots (0-4) to complete a sweep in the opening weekend of the 2013 season. On a day that by all accounts was a bit warmer than Saturday, MSU again turned in strong pitching performances coupled with just enough offense to get past the Pilots to complete the four game sweep.
Game 1 - Mississippi State 7, Portland 1
In his 2013 debut, senior staff ace Kendall Graveman (1-0) turned in an outstanding first start, providing the Bulldogs with 6.1 innings of scoreless, two-hit ball. Here's a bit more on the game, courtesy of HailState.com (sorry, I was studying most of the day):
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.
Game 2 - Mississippi State 6, Portland 0
In the weekend finale, MSU used another strong staff showing pitching wise and a late push of runs to take down the Portland Pilots, completing the weekend series sweep to start off 4-0. Sophomore Amory native Will Cox drew the start in game two, and turned in three innings of two-hit, no run work before giving way to do-it-all Bulldog Luis Pollorena. Pollorena (1-0) picked back up where he left off in 2012, working 4.1 spotless innings, striking out six while giving up only three hits. Pollorena also finished out the final two outs in game one. Ben Bracewell and freshman sensation John Marc Shelley closed out the game, completing State's first shutout victory of the young season.
Again, here's a bit more on today's game from HailState.com:
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.
- Sophomore 1B Wes Rea was mostly held out of action Sunday to avoid further complications to a leg injury noted Saturday by head coach John Cohen. Although Cohen noted that the injury was minor, State held Rea out as a precautionary measure, with both games assuredly in-hand. Junior college transfer and new Bulldog Alex Detz took Rea's place at 1B. The California native turned in a 1-6 day at the plate with 2 RBI's in game 1.
- On the weekend, the Bulldogs managed to plate 31 runs, including the 16 run effort in game 1 on Friday evening. On the flip side of that, the Bulldog pitching staff held the Pilots to just three runs on the weekend.
- State will pick action back up on Tuesday with a matchup against Grambling State before kicking of next weekend's Diamond Classic featuring Purdue and 2012 Tallahassee Regional foe Samford.
- Although State's offense cooled off a bit after game one, the pitching staff seems to have picked up right where they left off in 2012. After an impressive 3-run weekend, it's important to note that Brandon Woodruff, who may be MSU's best pitcher, hasn't even thrown an inning yet. Woodruff has experienced some soreness in his elbow, but we could see him Tuesday against Grambling State, if not next weekend.