Kendall Graveman didn't need the luck of the Irish on Sunday, although it certainly helped. - Mississippi State University | Bill Simmonds
The Bulldogs play error-less baseball and get the bats going early and often to avoid what would have been the first sweep by LSU at DNF since 1975.
Mississippi State struggled to bring home the runs in the first two games of the weekend series against LSU with big defensive miscues costing them as well. They eliminated those mistakes in game three and came out firing with 10 runs and 11 hits to end LSU's 12-game winning streak and salvage game three of the series.
MSU (19-4, 1-2) got their best pitching effort in some time from Kendall Graveman to give him his second win of the season. Graveman (2-1) had a strong six innings giving up one run on seven hits and struck out four batters. The ground-ball machine got 10 Tigers to go down on the ground out as LSU hit into two double plays against Graveman (three for the game).
State would come out swinging immediately, as they had all weekend. The difference on this beautiful afternoon in front of 7,686 fans, was they were able to get the lead early and hold it throughout.
After a quick top half of the first from Graveman, the Bulldogs got a rare (sarcasm font) lead-off single from hitman Adam Frazier. A sac bunt by Bradford pushed him to second and brought up the beastly Hunter Renfroe. Renfroe continued his hot bat by stroking a double into left driving in Frazier. After a ground out by Mitch Slauter, Wes Rea got his bat going and smashed a double deep to center field driving in Renfroe and giving the Dawgs an early 2-0 lead after one.
State would keep it rolling in the second with a lead-off walk to Daryl Norris and another sac bunt, this time by Demarcus Henderson, pushing him to second. Brett Pirtle came in where he left off last night and lined a single into left. Frazier, batting for the second time, flew out and it was up to Bradford to keep the inning going. He would walk the bases loaded followed by another walk to Renfroe that brought in a run and gave the Bulldogs the 3-0 lead.
In the fourth, Henderson led off being hit by a pitch followed by another Pirtle single. With one out, Bradford delivered a single to bring home Henderson. Renfroe was intentionally walked to load up the bases and after a Slauter strikeout, Rea was again asked to do something with two outs. The massive first baseman lined a hit passed the shortstop into center and brought home two Bullies to give State the 6-0 advantage.
After another quick bottom of the inning in the fifth, State wanted to pad the lead. But consecutive ground outs from Frazier and Bradford would make that difficult. However, Renfroe was walked for the third straight time and stole second to give State a runner in scoring position. Slauter, who had been swinging hard in his previous at bats, dropped a single in and scored Renfroe swelling the lead to 7-0 in State's favor.
Graveman, who had cruised through the first six innings with little worry and no runs given up, started the top of the seventh in a little trouble with a walk and a couple of hits that sent him packing. Chad Girodo came in for his third appearance in as many games but hit the first batter he faced and loaded the bases giving way for Ben Bracewell.
Bracewell made his second appearance after a solid outing in relief Friday night where he got State out of trouble and pitched 2.2 solid innings of relief with no hits and no runs. Today, however, he came into a bases loaded situation with no outs but with a 7-0 lead to work with.
His first batter flew out bringing in a Tiger runner and the first LSU run. He then caught a line shot up the middle and threw over to Frazier as they double played the inning with the 1-6-3 putout .
State would put it away for good in the seventh with three more runs, and a solo home run by LSU off of closer Jonathan Holder was academic as the Bulldogs got the win, 10-2.
The Bulldogs were led in hitting by second baseman Brett Pirtle (3-4; RBI, 2R) and two hit days from Fraizer (2-5; 2R), Bradford (2-3; 3 RBIs, R, BB) and Rea (2-4; 2B, 3 RBI, BB).
The win was a big one for MSU, although a series victory was the ultimate goal. LSU dropped their first game in over a month but still remain the team to beat in conference play at 18-2 and 2-1 in conference.
MSU now turns its attention to a midweek game against Alcorn State before taking their first true road trip of the season at No. 9 Kentucky (16-3, 2-1) who are fresh off of their series win at Florida.
- HOT DAWGS: Well that was cheesy. Oh well. State had hot bats all weekend. Leaving nearly 30 batters on base hurt, but not Sunday. With that said, the fact that state hit a solid pitching staff the way they did bodes well for the rest of the season. Prior to this weekend, LSU pitching had only given up double-digit hits once this year. The Bulldogs had 10 or more hits in each of the games this weekend with 10 each the first two ball games and 12 on Sunday.
- DOUBLE-PLAYS CONTINUE: After failing to record a double play in Friday night's game, the Bulldogs got their 29th of the season in the third inning Saturday and three more Sunday to put them at 32 on the season. State continues to pace the country in that category for the second year in a row.
- RENFROE STROKIN': Renfroe's first-inning double extended his hitting streak to eight games. In these past eight games, he has batted 15-31 with three home runs and 18 RBIs. His double was number six on the year and after today, he sits at 28 RBIs on the year. Last season he managed only 25.
- WES SWING BIG STICK; HIT BALL HARD: Rea's bat got back into the mix early Sunday. After missing the majority of the games in non-conference play, Rea got his third RBI of the season on a double bringing Renfroe home in the first. It was his first double and second extra-base hit of the year. He followed it up with a two-run single in the fourth and finished the day 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs.
- FRAZIER THINGS: Well he keeps doing the same stuff. Which isn't entirely bad for this MSU staff. Fraizer led off the bottom of the first, like he usually does, with a single. It meant that he has now hit in 20 of the Bulldogs 23 games this season and reached base safely in 21 of those games. He was also 2-for-5 on the day to give him a team-leading 13 multi-hit ball games this year. We will check tomorrow, but he should still remain at the top of the conference and top-5 in the country in total hits.
- PIRTLE POWER?: Brett Pirtle is starting to find his swing. The outstanding defender has struggled at the plate early but had three consecutive hits over the past two games with a home run in the ninth Saturday and hits in his first two at bats Sunday. He added another hit later in the game with an RBI to have a 3-for-4 game three. He had just six hits in his previous 42 at bats this season.
- Reminder to check back tomorrow evening for our weekly recap and preview of MSU baseball. We will have all the stats your baseball-loving heart can handle... Hail State!