Sophomore right-hander Brandon Woodruff opened his 2013 season on a strong note as No. 5 Mississippi State blanked Grambling State 2-0 in a college baseball game Tuesday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
Woodruff, from Wheller, Miss., matched a career high with eight strikeouts over six innings of work. In the end, a collection of six Bulldog hurlers combined for the squad’s second consecutive shutout as MSU moved to 5-0 for the second time in three seasons.
“It was a well-pitched game by both teams,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “It’s hard to score runs when the wind is from the north here. This was a lot like several of our intersquad games. It was well pitched by both teams and local scoring.”
Through five games, MSU pitching has allowed 26 hits and three earned runs for a 0.60 earned run average. Bulldog hurlers have not allowed a run in 18 straight innings.
MSU opened the scoring with a lone run in the second inning. After a leadoff walk to Alex Detz, Brett Pirtle followed with a sacrifice bunt. Following a lineout, Demarcus Henderson lined an RBI-single.
Henderson also had a hand in the Bulldogs’ other run in the fifth inning. Daryl Norris began things with a leadoff single. Again, the Maroon and White used the bunting game to perfection as Henderson sacrificed Norris to second base. A two-out RBI-single by C.T. Bradford extended the lead to 2-0.
“Demarcus really hung in there well,” Cohen said. “He got a hit, got a sacrifice bunt and drew a walk for us. We had some key two-out hits.”
Myles Gentry, Bradford, Preston Brown, Ross Mitchell and Jonathan Holder all saw action on the mound. Holder got a critical strikeout with the bases loaded in the eighth inning to snuff the last Grambling State (0-3) threat. Holder retired the side in order one at-bat later for his second save this season and 11th career save.
MSU resumes its season-opening 19-game homestand this weekend hosting 2012 NCAA Tournament participants Purdue and Samford in the Diamond Classic presented by Polk’s Meat Products. The three-day, six-game event begins Friday with Samford playing Purdue at 2:30 p.m. and State testing Purdue at 6 p.m.