Now that's more like it. State came into this past week having losing four-consecutive weekend series and their first three in conference play. They were taking on a down yet talented Florida team this weekend and did what they had to do, winning the first two games of the weekend to clinch the series before falling 8-3 on Sunday.
While there were many things to be happy about, the fifth-inning collapse on Sunday was extremely disheartening after an early 2-0 lead. The eight runs in the inning were the most given up in a single inning this year and most since Florida last came to Dudy Noble in 2011. Before Sunday's game, MSU starters had given up only one run in their 15 innings.
The biggest factor in the first two days was senior starter Kendall Graveman. Graveman posted his second-consecutive complete game, this time a shutout with 19 ground-ball outs. With this performance, he was a shoe-in for SEC pitcher of the week which he was awarded early Monday morning.
Jacob Lindgren was back and rolling through the first four yesterday with only one hit and no runs before getting into major trouble in the fifth and being pulled from the game on an apparent injury. He is said to be ready for next weekend, however.
The Bulldogs (26-9, 5-7) started the week off with a big win on the road against a quality non-conference foe in South Alabama. State got a solid performance out of Brandon Woodruff who is hopefully becoming primed to be a weekend starter. Wes Rea started to get back in his groove as he delivered the eventual game-winning hit in the eighth inning.
So with the three-win week, it was no surprise that the Bulldogs would move back into the top-25 in the two polls they dropped out of last week. Let's look at where they are now in the top-25 followed up by the statistical look at the team.
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Batting Average: 3rd (NCAA 17th) - Hunter Renfroe (.417); 14th- Adam Frazier (.345)
Hits: 5th (NCAA T-18th) - Frazier (49); T-7th- Renfroe (45)
Slugging %: 2nd (NCAA 4th) - Renfroe (.815); 14th- Frazier (.479)
On Base %: 2nd (NCAA T-34th)- Detz (.493); T-3rd- Renfroe (.485)
Runs Scored: 2nd (NCAA T-15th) - Frazier (36); T-10th-Renfroe (27); T-14th- C.T. Bradford (26)
RBI: 3rd (T-13th) - Renfore (38)
Doubles: T-2nd Frazier (11); T-7th-Renfroe (9)
Triples: 2nd (NCAA T-14th) - Frazier (4)
Home Runs: T-2nd (NCAA T-6th) - Renfroe (10)
Total Bases: 3rd (NCAA T-8th) - Renfroe (88); 6th- Frazier (68)
Walks: 2nd (NCAA T-11th) - Detz (29)
Hit by Pitch: T-9th - Brett Pirtle (7)
At Bats: 1st- Frazier (142); T-4th-Bradford (134)
Batting Average: 3rd (.296)
Hits: 2nd (NCAA T-15th) (342)
Slugging %: 4th (.406)
On Base %: 3rd (.394)
Runs Scored: 3rd (NCAA T-23rd) (224)
RBI: 3rd (198)
Doubles: 4th (59)
Triples: T-4th (9)
Home Runs: 5th (17)
Total Bases: 2nd (470)
At Bats: 1st (1157)
Walks: 4th (NCAA T-23rd) (153)
Hit by Pitch: 3rd (NCAA T-26th) (47)
Stolen Bases: 4th (46)
Not a great weekend at the plate led to MSU dropping in several categories just slightly and LSU is the clear leader among the conference at the plate. The Bulldogs do continue to stay among the top-5 in nearly every category which is very encouraging after being dead last at the plate last year. Now to the defensive side of the ball.
Earned Run Average: 4th (NCAA 14th) (2.56) Leaders: Ross Mitchell- 3rd (NCAA T-18th)- (1.12); Kendall Graveman- 13th (1.99)
Opposing Batting Average: 2nd (.208) Leader: R. Mitchell-11th (.210)
Innings Pitched: 1st (313.1) Leader: Graveman- 12th (49.2)
Strikeouts: 2nd (NCAA 26th) (292)
Wins: T-3rd (26) Leaders: R. Mitchell and Luis Pollorena- T-6th (5)
Saves: T-3rd (11) Leader: Jonathan Holder- 3rd (NCAA T-7th)- (9)
Appearances: Leaders: Chad Girodo- T-1st (19); Myles Gentry- T-4th (18)
(Least Amount) Hits: 4th (230) Leader: R. Mitchell- T-9th (29)
(Least Amount) Earned Runs: T-4th (89) Leader: R. Mitchell- T-2nd (5)
(Least Amount) Doubles: T-3rd (32); Leader: R. Mitchell- T-8th (4)
(Least Amount) Triples: T-5th (3) Leader: Graveman and Pollorena -T-1st (0)
(Least Amount) Home Runs: 4th (9) Leaders: R. Mitchell and Pollorena- T-1st (0)
(Least Amount) Intentional Walks: 1st (2)
Fielding %: 2nd (.976)
Chances: 1st (1417)
Putouts: 1st (940)
Assists: 1st (443) Leader: Frazier-1st (117); Pirtle- T-9th (89)
Double Plays: 1st (NCAA 1st) (46) Leaders: Frazier-1st (38); Pirtle-9th (25); Detz- 14th (22)
Defense continues to roll across the board after a fantastic weekend. With the majority of the staff being ground ball guys, that makes for more chances on the infield. There will be errors by this group but they are among the best fielders in the country.
Next up for the Diamond Dawgs is the annual non-conference match up at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. against #17 Ole Miss (23-9). The Rebels are reeling after a sweep to top-5 Vanderbilt at home. The sweep was coming off of back-to-back series losses to Texas A&M and Florida. MSU will put Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 4.15) on the mound for his sixth start of the season. He pitched a career-tying six innings last week against South Alabama after four consecutive appearances without a complete inning work.
First pitch in Pearl is set for 6:30 p.m.
Following the rivalry match up, State goes on the road for the first SEC series against Texas A&M (20-13, 6-6). The pitching staff is not yet settled with the only guarantee being SEC pitcher of the week Graveman.
Game times for this weekend are 6:35 p.m. Friday, 12:35 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 Sunday.