Mississippi State found this Sunday not being a day for rest.
With green lights illuminating from the Dudy Noble Field scoreboard in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the Bulldogs loaded up and put lots of positive numbers on that scoreboard.
No. 8 MSU pounded out 12 hits and scored in five different innings to knock off No. 2 LSU 10-2 in the final game of a weekend three-game Southeastern Conference series.
With the victory, MSU improved to 19-4 overall and 1-2 in league play, while LSU fell to 18-2 and 2-1. The Bulldogs prevented a first-ever three-game series sweep by the Tigers at Dudy Noble Field.
While each of the first two contests hung in the balance in the ninth inning, the Bulldogs created breathing room Sunday behind a balanced offensive attack and brilliant pitching by starter Kendall Graveman.
“Kendall put the team on his shoulders,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “From his body language and preparation, he couldn’t be denied. This was a really a big win for us, because we needed it from a confidence standpoint.
“With one pitch on Friday, we take two-of-three, but that’s the nature of this league. It really is unforgiving.”
Graveman (2-1) allowed seven hits and one run (earned) over six-plus innings of work. The senior right-hander struck out four, walked three and faced 26 batters, while throwing 91 pitches.
Offensively, the Bulldogs set the tone by scoring twice in the first inning. Adam Frazier began things with a leadoff single. After a sacrifice bunt by C.T. Bradford, Hunter Renfroe slapped an RBI-double. Renfroe later scored on Wes Rea’s double to the left center gap.
MSU extended the lead to 6-0 with a single score in the second inning and three scores in the fourth inning.
Bradford ripped an RBI-single, while Rea added a two-run base hit in the fourth inning.
An RBI-single by Mitch Slauter extended the advantage to 7-0 in the sixth inning.
LSU broke up the shutout on a sacrifice fly by Jacoby Jones in the seventh inning. Working in relief, Ben Bracewell got the Bulldogs’ 32nd double play ball of the season – third of the game – to snuff that threat.
MSU moved back out of danger with three runs in the home half of the seventh inning.
Sam Frost began the inning with a leadoff single. Frost stole both second and third base, before scoring on a single by Brett Pirtle. Frazier followed with a double. Bradford capped his team’s scoring with a two-run single.
LSU’s Jared Foster hit a pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning.
“We had some really quality at-bats,” Cohen said. “We just have to keep working to improve. We want to play the best each weekend. That is what our league is all about. No one on our schedule is struggling, so we just have to keep working hard to get better.”
Pirtle had three of MSU’s 12 hits. Frazier, Bradford and Rea each added multiple hits.
LSU finished with 11 hits, including two by Jones and Chris Sciambra. Cody Glenn (3-1) was lifted in the fourth inning and took the loss.
MSU hosts Alcorn State at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.