After losing their first two ball games of the season and consecutively at that, the Bulldogs were brought back to earth this past weekend after a 17-0 start. Tuesday night at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss., and in front of an announced 6,948 fans, MSU looked to hit their stride once again before top-10 LSU comes to town this weekend.
The Dawgs pounded out 13 runs on 15 hits and used a strong first four innings from starter Luis Pollorena to coast to victory and MSU got their fourth win in their last tries at Trustmark Park, 13-5. Pollorena (4-0) got the win on the day for the Bulldogs, and not even a tough sixth inning could damper the day for the Maroon and White.
MSU would start off strong and never let up as they batted around the order in the first inning for the first time this season. Adam Frazier did his usual thing by reaching base immediately after a quick walk and an advancement on a Demarcus Henderson sacrifice bunt. Alex Detz would single pushing Frazier to third and bringing up Hunter Renfroe. The future pro started off his big night with a double driving in Frazier and was followed up by another double from Slauter that brought in two.
It would be the biggest inning for the Dawgs but not the last time they would get runs on the board. In the ball game, State would bring multiple runs across the plate in four different innings and had a 7-0 lead after three.
In the battle of the in-state teams, MSU's hitters were the difference and more runs could have been up as the Bulldogs left 10 on the bases. Five Bulldogs batters also registered multiple hits led by Junior Renfroe who tied a career high with six RBI doubling again in the second and driving in two runs, and sending a rocket home run over the left field fence for three more RBI.
Renfroe's 3-for-5 night was the best of all Dawgs, but Frazier, Detz, Sam Frost and Kyle Hann all got on the board twice in the game in hits.
Southern Miss was able to get a big inning going on Pollorena in the sixth with five-straight hits to start the inning driving in three runs and sending him to the bench with still a comfortable lead sustained. He would strike out four in his five innings giving up nine hits and five runs.
Ross Mitchell was brought in to save the inning and did just that, save for an error on first baseman Detz driving in a run, and got out of the inning without too much further damage. Mitchell had another solid outing in relief with the save going four innings with two hits, two walks and two strikeouts leading the Dawgs to their league-leading 18-2 start.
MSU got some much needed confidence back Tuesday after a rough weekend at home and experiencing losses for the first time. But will it be enough this weekend against consensus top-10 and defending conference champion LSU? The Tigers were fought tooth and nail by the Bulldogs in their five games last year with all of them being classics and State winning three. It should be an old-school atmosphere at Dudy Noble and a great start to the SEC season.
State will check on the status of sophomore Jacob Lindgren this week prior to Friday to see if he will be able to get back into the rotation after suffering a ball hit off of his leg. He is the hopeful Friday night starter for the 6:30 p.m. with the Saturday and Sunday starters not yet determined. Kendall Graveman will surely be one of those starters with guys like Evan Mitchell and Will Cox up for discussion as well. Game times are 6 p.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday respectively.
- FIRST-INNING, OUR INNING- The Bulldogs batted around in the batting order in the first inning to take a 4-0 inning and put Southern at a distinct disadvantage. It was the seventh time State has batted through the order in an inning this season.
- DOUBLE DAWGS STILL DOUBLIN'- The Bulldogs killed the Southern Miss sixth inning rally with their 27th double play of the year then finished the game turning two for their 28th. They lead the conference as well as the country in that category for the second season in a row.
- WE OWN ALL OF THE MUSTARD- Southern Miss failed to score in their first three innings and up to that point, hadn't scored against the Bulldogs in 28-consecutive innings. That covered a span of three years.
- TOUCH EM' ALL- The Bulldogs pounded the bases tonight. They earned seven extra-base hits (6 doubles; Home Run)
- RENFROE SMASH- Hunter Renfroe had a monster night and continues to show his power at the plate. The junior freak of nature was 3-for-5 at the plate with two doubles and a three-run home run racking up a career-high six RBIs and tying his career high with three hits. He also has hit home runs in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. His five home runs also tie for the most in the conference through Tuesday night.
- 'O CANADA- Kyle Hann had his best night at the plate as a Bulldog. The freshman Canadian recorded his first multi-hit game while also knocking in his first-career Bulldogs run as he went 2-for-2 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored in his limited time Tuesday night as a starter at second base.
- FRAZIER THINGS- An uncharacteristic weekend turns out to be, well, uncharacteristic. Adam Frazier was right back on track Tuesday night getting a couple of base hits. Both hits were doubles evening his two-baggers (4) with his triples (4) on the season.
- LUIS' BUZZARDS- Despite a rough sixth inning, Pollorena still owns Southern Miss. Pollorena was cruising in the first 5.0 innings before five straight hits and three runs sent him packing. The inning was the highest scoring of the year and the first time the Bulldogs have allowed a team to bat through the order. Regardless, Pollorena finishes his career against Southern Miss with a 3-0 record in three appearances and allowing the first run of his career against the Golden Eagles in the third inning. He had gone 15-scoreless innings prior to his first run surrendered.