STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/MSU Athletics) – Demarcus Henderson singled in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning and sophomore relief ace Jonathan Holdertossed 1.2 innings of shutout relief as No. 5 Mississippi State (2-0) nipped the Portland Pilots (0-2) 2-1 Saturday afternoon at wind-chilled Dudy Noble Field.
Five Bulldog pitchers combined to limit Portland (0-2) to a run on four hits.
The win was Mississippi State’s 1,000th at the current site of Dudy Noble Field, MSU’s on-campus baseball home since 1967.
State punched across the game’s first run when Hunter Renfroe reached on a bunt single in the fourth inning. UP opened the sixth with a walk and later plated the tying run on Jeff Melby’s second single of the game. State regained the lead in the bottom of the frame. Daryl Norris delivered a two-out single and later touched home on Henderson’s game-winning hit.
Junior righty Evan Mitchell allowed a run on three hits and registered six strikeouts in a 5-inning start. Ross Mitchell (1-0) pitched an inning of relief in the sixth to get the win, while Holder fanned four of the six batters he faced over the final two frames to earn his first save of the year.
Designated hitter Trey Porter laced a double and a single to lead State at the plate.
Sophomore Travis Radke, the 2012 West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year, struck out nine but was charged with both Bulldog runs in a strong 6.2-inning start. Melby had two of UP’s four hits.
State and Portland conclude their four-game opening weekend series Sunday with a 1 p.m. twinbill at Dudy Noble Field.