Following a huge, momentum boosting win on Saturday over Florida, Mississippi State clinched their fourth straight SEC series over the #1 Gators with a 2-1 win on Sunday.
The norm for this team in recent weeks is that pitching is ultimately what gives Sunday games away for Mississippi State. This time around, the complete opposite transpired. Konnor Pilkington got his first weekend start of the year and pitched beautifully. In 4 innings, Pilkington gave up three hits, no runs, and struck out two. Although he was shaky at times, considering it was his first career weekend start on the road against the #1 team in the land, Pilkington had a stellar outing.
He was replaced in the 5th by Zac Houston, who absolutely dealt. In 3 1/3 innings, Houston gave up just one hit, no runs, and struck out three. With Ryan Rigby's performance on Saturday and now Zac Houston, the bullpen won the weekend for the Bulldogs. After walking a batter in the 8th, Houston was replaced by Reid Humphreys, who closed the game out giving up two hits, one run, and striking out two in 1 2/3 innings of work.
It was a different story at the plate. For the most part in this ballgame, Bulldog hitting was anemic. The first 4 innings were disastrous, as State strung together just three hits. But, in the 5th, Ryan Gridley launched a solo shot to left field to give State the 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs scored again in the 7th, thanks to an RBI single from Elih Morrero that scored Brent Rooker. There was some controversy before that, as after Brent Rooker's double, it looked like John Holland launched a two run shot that bounced off the scoreboard onto the field, but the umpires ruled it a ground rule double. To me, it looked gone, but who knows.
Looking back on the weekend, the way it played out was nothing short of a shocker. Who would've thought that we would take the series after losing on Friday? Who would've thought that our Sunday pitching, which is normally absolutely god awful, would be able to give up just one run to take the series? I know that I didn't. If any of you had that planned out before this weekend, you're some kind of a psychic.
This series is absolutely gigantic for State. It keeps us atop the SEC West standings before facing a very difficult two weekend slate against two of the division's best, Texas A&M and LSU. Our RPI helped out a ton as well, going up to 14 according to WarrenNolan.com.
Mississippi State improves to 23-9-1, 8-4 and will look to continue their hot play with a midweek contest against Memphis on Wednesday, 6:30 PM in Starkville.
Mississippi State takes the series from top ranked Florida pic.twitter.com/lXq7PYa3cB— Ethan Lee (@leeethanj) April 10, 2016
It's final as State takes down #1 Florida pic.twitter.com/MyMDThKNg1— cristilmethod (@cristilmethod) April 10, 2016
How many series has State won in a row? pic.twitter.com/MDFdUHCtGc— Daniel Black (@dblack97) April 10, 2016