I'm starting to think that maybe MSU should just play every game at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
Following a 2-1 win over Missouri last night in a 17 inning affair, Mississippi State came back to the diamond at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium this evening to take on South Carolina for the fourth time in seven days. The good luck that MSU experienced in their series win over the Gamecocks just days ago continued tonight, as freshman Myles Gentry and the bats of Demarcus Henderson and Wes Rea powered MSU to a 5-3 win tonight.
State was able to come out and get on top first, as they scored two runs in the top of the first inning on back to back singles by Wes and Demarcus. Starter Luis Pollorena would mostly cruise for MSU through the first three innings, and a Demarcus Henderson RBI sac-fly in the third would push MSU's lead out to 3-0.
Things got a bit dicey for State in the fourth after back to back singles were followed up by a walk to load the bases for USC. A bases loaded walk followed by another single was enough to bring the game to a 3-3 tie, and Luis was lifted in favor of MSU freshman Myles Gentry. Now, this would be the point where many of us would protest bringing in Gentry in a big moment, but to the freshman's credit, he was absolutely spectacular in 5.2 innings of dazzling relief.
With things settled down on the mound behind Gentry, State and the Gamecocks would see their 3-all tie go into the ninth, where I have to think the entire media began begging for sweet mercy for someone, anyone to score to avoid another all-night affair. And that wish was granted as -- you guessed it -- Wes Rea and Demarcus Henderson came through again. In the top of the ninth, Adam Frazier led off with a single, followed by a single from Alex Detz as well. After Hunter Renfroe popped out, Brett Pirtle was issued a walk, loading the bases for the big fella. He delivered the single that broke up the tie, and Henderson would add one of his own, pushing the game to a 5-3 MSU advantage.
At that point, the question began whether or not John Cohen would choose to use closer Jonathan Holder or not. Holder threw in Tuesday night's marathon, so there was some doubt. But any questions about Holder's need in tonight's game were erased by Gentry, as he came back out in the ninth to finish what he started, getting three fly ball outs to end the game and seal the MSU win.
Again, a huge hat tip to the freshman Gentry -- he was spectacular tonight. Last year we saw this happen for MSU -- pitchers stepping up when they were needed -- and Gentry continued that trend in this year's tournament tonight. He could prove to be a big asset in MSU's postseason run if he can continue to pitch at the level he did tonight. Well done, Myles. Here's his final line: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 8 K's, 3 BBs
Hats also go off to Demarcus and Wes -- they powered this offense tonight. Demarcus has actually had quite a large amount of success against the Gamecocks this year, as our own Robbie Faulk notes:
Demarcus in his four games against USC: 8-15, 5 RBI, 3 runs #clutch— Robbie Faulk (@robbiefaulk) May 23, 2013
Final lines on Henderson and Rea for tonight
Demarcus Henderson -- 2 for 3, 3 RBI's
Wes Rea -- 3 for 4, 2 RBI's
The red hot MSU squad will head back out to the Hoover Met tomorrow to face the Texas A&M Aggies, who just so happened to have themselves a pretty good day at the park today too, knocking off #1 Vanderbilt 5-0. Two teams getting hot at the right time, should be a fun game to watch. Kendall Graveman will get the rock for State tomorrow, and first pitch is set for 30 minutes after the 4:30 game, which will pit LSU against rival Arkansas.