Here come the Dawgs. Mississippi State (30-9, 8-7) came into last weekend's series against a resurgent Florida team having lost their first three SEC series and their last four overall. They went to work scoring two wins in their three games to take their first series of the SEC season. They followed that up with a midweek win over in-state rival Ole Miss and a huge road sweep of Texas A&M.
Hunter Renfroe continued to make himself lots of money over the weekend with a .571 batting average with three home runs and a couple of doubles. The three dingers brought him back into a tie with LSU"s Mason Katz for the conference lead at 13. His incredible week made him a shoe-in for the SEC Player of the Week in which he was awarded.
Strong starting performances from Bulldog pitching wasn't necessarily needed with the powerful bats working, but MSU got that in their three games capped by a third-straight complete game from Saturday starter Kendall Graveman. Last week's SEC pitcher of the week continues to make his way through SEC lineups and has been in shut-down mode for the majority of the year.
The big weekend moved State up across the board in the polls, and statistics show the Bulldogs on the up and up. Let's take a look at those now.
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Batting Average: 2nd (NCAA T-5th) - Hunter Renfroe (.429); 12th- Adam Frazier (.342)
Hits: T-5th (NCAA T-22nd) - Frazier and Renfroe (54)
Slugging %: 1st (NCAA 1st) - Renfroe (.865); 12th- Frazier (.481)
On Base %: 3rd (NCAA 34th)- Renfroe (.494)
Runs Scored: 3rd (NCAA T-25th) - Frazier (38); T-6th-Renfroe (35); T-11th- C.T. Bradford (30)
RBI: 3rd (NCAA T-15th) - Renfore (42)
Doubles: T-2nd Frazier and Renfroe (12)
Triples: 2nd (NCAA T-14th) - Frazier (5)
Home Runs: T-1st (NCAA T-2nd) - Renfroe (13)
Total Bases: 1st (NCAA T-3rd) - Renfroe (109); 7th- Frazier (76)
Walks: T-1st (NCAA T-8th) - Detz (33)
Hit by Pitch: T-8th- Bradford (8)
At Bats: 1st- Frazier (158); T-5th-Bradford (150)
Batting Average: 3rd (.298)
Hits: 2nd (NCAA T-16th) (387)
Slugging %: 4th (.417)
On Base %: 3rd (NCAA 24th) (.398)
Runs Scored: 3rd (NCAA T-21st) (258)
RBI: 3rd (227)
Doubles: 4th (65)
Triples: T-3rd (10)
Home Runs: 3rd (23)
Total Bases: 2nd (541)
At Bats: 1st (1298)
Walks: 3rd (NCAA T-14th) (177)
Hit by Pitch: 3rd (NCAA T-26th) (51)
Stolen Bases: 4th (48)
A strong weekend at the plate was still not enough to overcome LSU's offensive game. With that said, State continues to be among the country's best at the dish. A year removed from one of the most struggling offensive season in recent memory, this is an incredible turnaround and makes this team even dangerous than most thought. Now for the defensive side of the ball.
Team/Individual Defense and Pitching
Earned Run Average: 2nd (NCAA 8th) (2.45) Leaders: Ross Mitchell- 1st (NCAA 5th)- (0.96); Kendall Graveman- 12th (2.15)
Opposing Batting Average: 3rd (.210) Leader: R. Mitchell-10th (.211); Graveman- 14th (.229)
Innings Pitched: 1st (349.1) Leader: Graveman- T-7th (58.2)
Strikeouts: 1st (NCAA 22nd) (321)
Wins: 3rd (30) Leaders: R. Mitchell and Luis Pollorena- T-6th(NCAA T-37th)- (6); Graveman- T-9th- (5)
Saves: T-2nd (13) Leader: Jonathan Holder- T-1st (NCAA T-3rd)- (11)
Appearances: Leaders: Chad Girodo- T-4th (19); Myles Gentry- T-10th (18)
(Least Amount) Hits: 3rd (260) Leader: R. Mitchell- 10th- (35)
(Least Amount) Earned Runs: T-3rd (95) Leader: R. Mitchell- 1st- (5)
(Least Amount) Doubles: 2nd (35); Leader: R. Mitchell- T-6th (4)
(Least Amount) Triples: T-4th (3) Leader: Graveman and Pollorena -T-1st (0)
(Least Amount) Home Runs: T-4th (11) Leaders: R. Mitchell and Pollorena- T-1st (0)
(Least Amount) Intentional Walks: 1st (2)
Fielding %: 2nd (NCAA 20th) (.976)
Chances: 1st (1572)
Putouts: 1st (1048)
Assists: 1st (487) Leader: Frazier-1st (134); Pirtle- T-9th (99)
Double Plays: 1st (NCAA 1st) (52) Leaders: Frazier-1st (44); Pirtle-4th (30); Rea- T-9th (27)
Another great defensive week for the Bulldogs keep them around the top of nearly every category as the team as a whole is really starting to hit its stride.
Next up for the Diamond Dawgs is Super Bulldog Weekend. The annual event will start Thursday night with a national television audience in ESPNU carrying game one of the series against the Auburn Tigers (22-14, 5-10). The Tigers haven't been looked at as a threat in the Western Division, but they have one consecutive series (Texas A&M and Georgia). Game time Thursday is set for 6:30 p.m. and is being hyped as a "White Out". Friday's game broadcasted regionally on CSS is also set for a 6:30 first pitch with game three being 4 p.m. on Saturday following the 1 p.m. spring football game at Davis Wade Stadium.