Following their 5-4 victory over Illinois-Chicago earlier the day, the Diamond Dawgs of Mississippi State powered their way past South Alabama, 7-3.
Facing a depleted pitching staff, Denver McQuary started on the hill for the Bulldogs, and he had a career day. In 5 innings of work, McQuary struck out three men and gave up just two hits, both of which solo home runs. Peyton Plumlee replaced him in the 6th and picked up right where McQuary left off. In 4 innings, Plumlee struck out five batters and gave up just two hits and one run, earning his first save of the season.
The Jaguars started off hot, hitting a solo shot in the 2nd to take a 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs responded, however, with two dingers of their own; Hunter Stovall hit one over the left field fence to score Hunter Vansau, and Cody Brown tacked on three more runs in the 3rd with a shot to right center, scoring Ryan Gridley and Brent Rooker. The first non-home run scoring of the game occurred in the 8th inning, when Hunter Vansau brought home Ryan Gridley from a fielder’s choice. The last State run of the ballgame came at the hands of Cole Gordon, who sent a ball flying over the left field wall.
It was a home run fest for South Alabama as well, hitting bombs in the 2nd and 4th innings. McQuary stood his ground, as those were the only hits he gave up in the contest. After giving up a four pitch walk in the 6th, McQuary was pulled for Peyton Plumlee, whose only allowed run was an RBI single in the 8th to cut State’s lead to 6-3. With runners on the corners with two outs, Plumlee struck out a man to get out of the inning. After Gordon’s solo shot in the 9th, Plumlee retired the side in order to seal the victory.
The Bulldog pitching was nothing short of superb in this ballgame, but the most encouraging aspect was timely hits. State, thanks to the three home runs, left only six runners on base, which is an improvement from past outings.
With this victory, Mississippi State heads to the regional final against Southern Miss. The Diamond Dawgs will have to take down the Golden Eagles twice, the first game beginning at 1:00 PM today in Hattiesburg.