The Bulldogs struggled through the first for the sixth-straight game but came back with a vengeance behind a strong pitching performance by Luis Pollorena, Ross Mitchell and Jonathan Holder, as well as a multi-hit game from four different players as they defeat the Florida Gators, 7-3.
In the 100th all-time game between the two national powers, Pollorena (6-1) gave MSU his best start of the season to garner his team-leading sixth win of the year. The senior southpaw went a solid six innings, giving up six hits and two runs while striking out four.
After a 1-0 start to the ball game, MSU once again found itself fighting from behind. State had given up a run in the first inning for the sixth consecutive game (8 out of the last 10) with four of the first five games ending in losses. But the Bully bats were not to be denied on the night.
After threatening in the second by loading the bases, Frazier would fly out and end the inning. Starting the bottom of the third with a ground out by Alex Detz, Renfroe would get on first with an error. Brett Pirtle stepped to the plate and dropped a fly ball into left center all the way to the wall sending Renfroe around the bases and tying the game. A single by Wes Rea and back-to-back walks had the bases loaded for Sam Frost who sent a fly ball into the outfield for the sacrifice fly.
A passed ball on the pitch to Jacob Robson brought Detz to the plate for a run followed by a hard hit ball booted by the short stop putting Robson on base and driving in Rea and State would take over the game with a 4-1 lead.
Rea would line a shot over the head of the shortstop in the fourth and bring in Detz following his double to give state the 5-1 advantage.
Florida would get a run on the board against Pollorena in the sixth inning but after a single with two outs, the runner tried to stretch Renfroe's arm at third base and was gunned down from center field and State led 5-2. He would follow that up in the bottom half of the inning with a one-out solo blast to right center field, his 10th of the year and a 6-2 MSU lead.
Mitchell, who worked a quick top half of the seventh in relief, would give up two doubles to start the eighth inning and was pulled in favor of Jonathan Holder who would retire all six batters he faced and grab his ninth save of the year.
State tacked on one more run in the eighth inning for the final margin of 7-3.
The Bulldogs (25-8, 4-6) were led at the plate by multi-hit games from Renfroe (2-4; HR, BB, 2R, RBI), Pirtle (2-5; 2B, RBI, R), Mitch Slauter (2-3) and Rea (2-3; 2RBI, R). Florida (14-17, 4-6) recorded eight hits on the day with four being doubles, three by sophomore catcher Taylor Gushue.
MSU now tries for their first series win against the Gators since 2007 with a 3 p.m. ball game on Saturday being televised on CSS. Kendall Graveman (3-2, 2.43) will be on the mound for the Dawgs looking to best his complete-game win against Arkansas last week.
- RIVALRY BREWING: State and Florida has become quite the rivalry over the past few years since Kevin O'Sullivan and John Cohen have become skippers of their respective teams. With Florida leading the all-time series 57-43, the two teams have now played 100 games against each other.
- DOUBLE-DIGITS WIN: State recorded double-digit hits for the 19th time this year. When putting double digits on the board, the Diamond Dawgs are 15-4 on the season.
- FIRST-INNING TROUBLE: MSU struggled a bit in the first inning as Florida laced a one-out double into left center field scoring a run. It was the sixth-consecutive game that State had given up a run in the first inning losing four of those contests so far. They've also given up a run in the first in eight out of 10 games. In SEC play, State has now been outscored 11-5 in the first inning.
- WALK THIS WAY: Alex Detz walked twice in the ball game Friday night. He leads the SEC in that category and has now walked in 19 of 31 games this season with nine multi-walk games.
- PIRTLE IN A HALF-SHELL: Brett Pirtle started the season slow. He now has a seriously hot bat. he tied the ball game up in the third inning with a one-out double scoring Renfroe from first. It was his fifth RBI in 10 SEC games this season after recording just six in non-conference play thus-far and he has now upped his SEC hitting to .322. He had a two-hit day for his fourth multi-hit game of the year with three of those coming in the first 10 games of conference play.
- MAKING THE BEST OF THE COLD: Not talking about the weather here folks. Adam Frazier and CT Bradford, two of the hottest hitters in the country a month ago, have gone ice cold at the plate which makes tonight's game all the more impressive. The two combined for an 0-for-9 night at the plate with only Bradford reaching via the walk. Frazier has been the most peculiar of the two after being automatic the last two seasons. After leading the SEC and being among the country's leaders in hits, he went 0-for-5 on Friday and is currently 2 out of his last 23.
- REN-THROW: Hunter Renfroe continues to build his MLB resume. After gunning down a runner going to third to end the top of the sixth, he smashed his 10th home run of the season to deep right center. It was also his team-leading 37th RBI of the year. He finished the night 2-for-4 for his 14th multi-hit game of the year.
- SLAUTER-HOUSE: Mitch Slauter returned to the diamond for the first time in two weeks and looked like he never left. The senior catcher recorded his fourth multi-hit game of the season and went 2-for-3 reaching base three times as he walked as well.
- BIG WES SMASH: Rea is finally starting to get healthy and it shows in his swing. After scoring the only run of the day against Arkansas last Sunday with his second home run, Rea brought in the game-winning run on a single Tuesday against South Alabama in the eighth inning. He returned to the same form tonight with a 2-for-3 ball game driving in two runs. He's now hit safely in a career-high six games.
- SHUTDOWN: Jonathan Holder is getting back in the groove. The sophomore closer has now garnered saves in back-to-back games and now has nine on the year equaling his total from last season. He pitched a solid two innings retiring all six batters he faced with four strikeouts. His nine saves place him seventh all-time in single-season saves and his 18 total in two Bulldog seasons put him in sole possession of fifth place breaking a tie with former major leaguer, Jay Powell. The 13 single-season saves and 29 career are in striking distance for the talented flame thrower. Holder also struck out four of the six batters he faced on the day and leads the bullpen with 30 on the year.