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Long day becomes successful for MSU

February 17, 2013

Mississippi State's Hunter Renfroe follows the flight of the baseball after swinging the bat Sunday afternoon against Portland. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

It was a long day of baseball for the Mississippi State Bulldogs, but a successful one.

The No. 13 (Collegiate Baseball) Mississippi State Bulldogs finished off a four-game sweep of the Portland Pilots with a 6-0 victory in game two of a doubleheader Sunday at Dudy Noble Field.

"(It was a) long day of baseball," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "(I was) really pleased the way our kids kind of hung in there and played."

The Bulldogs (4-0) were solid on the mound in the four games, only giving up three runs on 20 hits over the weekend.

"I really thought we pitched well," Cohen said. "I don't think we were as sharp as we're going to be. We didn't throw as many strikes as we wanted to."

Senior left hander Luis Pollorena (1-0) picked up the win in middle relief. He pitched 4.1 innings. he gave up three hits and only walked two batters. He was one strikeout shy of his career-high with six Ks.

"I was trying to throw strikes," Pollorena said. "We have a good back end with (Ben) Bracewell and (Jonathan) Holder. I was just trying to do what ever I could to get to those guys."

Pollorena was on the mound at the end of game one and gave a solid outing in the second game.

"(Pollorena) came in and he closed out the first one and then he throws 60 something pitches in the next one," Cohen said. "He really wanted to pitch. I think his changeup against right-handed hitters is going to be a much different deal for him this year. Last year, he struggled with right-handed hitters and now he's got a weapon for right handed hitters. He had some big misses up in the zone, but for the most part he just really pitched with his change up."

MSU ended the game on a 3-6-3 double play. First baseman Wes Rea, who didn't start either game, was inserted late into the ballgame to hit. After an intentional walk, he stayed into run and got things started on the double play.

"That double play to end the game is a highlight reel type of play," Cohen said. "I see these guys make those kind of plays every day in practice. It's fun to see it happen in a ballgame scenario."

The Bulldogs turned seven double plays for the weekend. They led the nation last year with 71.

"We've said this over and over again, but the thing with our club is pitching and defense," Cohen said. "The difference between this year and last year is we've got more experience."

MSU got on the scoreboard when Brett Pirtle's infield single and an error by the first baseman let Hunter Renfroe score who led off the second inning with a double.

The Bulldogs exploded for four runs in the eighth inning. Trey Porter and Demarcus Henderson each had a RBI single. Renfroe had a RBI double.

Will Cox pitched three innings to start the game. Bracewell and freshman right hander John Marc Shelly pitched 1.2 innings in relief of Pollorena.

Adam Frazier, Renfroe and Henderson led MSU with two hits a piece.

Frazier extended his hitting streak to five games and collected his 33rd career multi hit game.
Frazier was 8-for-16 for the weekend with three RBI.

"He makes some very difficult things look very easy," Cohen said. "He just makes you make a play every single time he's up there. He's just not going to give you an out. He's not going to give you the easy fly ball out. He's going to hit a ball hard somewhere and you're going to have to make a play to get him out. He just does a great job for us."

Game One
Mississippi State 7,
Portland 1

Senior right hander Kendall Graveman pitched 6.1 solid innings, as the Bulldogs clinched the series in game one of the doubleheader.

Graveman (1-0) gave up two hits and only allowed two balls out of the infield in his outing. He gave up no runs. He had four walks and four strikeouts. 

With the doubleheader being pushed to Sunday, it gave Graveman one more day to get ready. He took advantage of it.

"It was helpful," Graveman said. "I've been in inter-squad games pitching on short rest, so it prepared me well. We did a little extra in the weight room that we wouldn't have done if I would have pitched on Saturday which was good. (It) kind of get the body moving. It ended up being a positive."

Graveman faced no more than five batters in an inning. He got out of a first and second jam in the second inning with a ground ball. He used a 1-6-3 double play in the third inning to get out a first and second jam.

"There towards the second or third inning, I kind of struggled a little bit getting the ball down," Graveman said. "I was a little inconsistent, but then I found it again for 3.1 (innings). It went well. The sink was there. I felt good getting down the mound. (It's) something after the surgery I've been having a little problem with, but (Sunday) I felt really good."

It was Graveman's 30th career start and the co-captain's 12th career win. 

"I was really, really pleased with Kendall even though he walked four guys and he wasn't as efficient as he normally is," Cohen said. "He's coming off a little procedure in December  and he's just progressed a little bit every single week."

MSU scored when freshman outfielder Jacob Robson singled to left field driving in Mitch Slauter in the fourth inning. The Bulldogs added two more runs in the fourth inning on Frazier's two-run scoring triple. 
Slauter hit a solo home run in the fifth inning for his fourth career bomb. State added three more in the sixth inning highlighted by Alex Detz's two-run double.

Slauter, Frazier and C.T. Bradford each had two hits to lead MSU. Slauter extended his hitting streak to seven games.

The Pilots lone run came in the ninth inning.

The Bulldogs will be back home Tuesday when Grambling comes calling. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Dudy Noble Field. Sophomore right hander Brandon Woodruff will be on the mound for MSU.

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