It was an easy stroll in the park for the Mississippi State baseball team on Sunday.
The No. 12 (Collegiate Baseball) Bulldogs cruised to an easy 8-1 victory over the Samford Bulldogs in the final game of the Diamond Classic presented by Polk's Meat Products at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU (9-0) completed the four-game sweep of the weekend. The Bulldogs are 9-0 for the first time since 2006 when they started 18-0.
Mississippi State and Ole Miss (7-0) are the only unbeaten teams in the Southeastern Conference.
"There's some things we didn't execute that we just have to get better with," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "At the same time our kids are pretty resilient and I feel like we are going to put pretty good swings on the ball."
The Bulldogs got a solid start from sophomore right hander Will Cox (1-0). Cox matched his career long with seven innings pitched. He gave up only one run on two hits. He walked only one batter and struck out seven.
"Will Cox was huge for us (Sunday)," Cohen said. "I think it's so neat to see Will progress and get to the bottom of the strike zone. He's so efficient. He gave us the opportunity to hopefully get our bullpen back for Tuesday and Wednesday. Will was outstanding."
Cox retired 17 batters in a row after getting the last out in the first inning. It ended when Samford's Phillip Ervin hit a solo home run in the seventh inning.
"They love to swing," Cox said. "That played right into me and (Nick) Ammirati's gameplan (Sunday). We were just going in pumping the zone and letting our defense work because our defense is special. It's awesome to watch them work.
"Ammo was just doing some awesome calling of pitches and I was just grateful to execute."
Of his seven strikeouts, five of them were of the looking variety. Cox has worked on his game and has developed a changeup.
"The biggest thing is his changeup," Cohen said. "Butch (Thompson) was on a mission to get him a changeup. Changing speeds is everything. He keeps getting better every time he goes out there."
MSU scored with three runs in the fourth inning. Junior first baseman Alex Detz had an RBI single, Ammirati had an RBI double and junior shortstop Adam Frazier hit his fourth triple to drive in a run to make it 3-0.
"Offensively, we had a pretty good fall," Detz said. "We know we are a good offensive club. Everybody always talks about our pitching and defense, but we are pretty solid offensively and I think it's starting to show."
The Bulldogs followed that up with a four-run fifth inning. Detz drove in two runs with a double to left field and junior outfielder Derrick Armstrong drove in another two tallies with a single.Â
"I swung the bat well," Detz said. "I got a couple of fastballs. I just took the advantage of his fastballs. (I) just took short swings."
Third baseman Daryl Norris finished the scoring for MSU with an RBI single to center field in the sixth inning.Â
Samford's Patrick McGavin (0-2) was credited with the loss. He gave up three runs on five hits in 3.1 innings pitched.
Along with Ervin's hit, Samford got a hit from leadoff hitter Zeth Stone and pinch hitter Will Davis.Â
Detz led MSU with three hits. It is his first multiple-hit game of the season.
"Alex had a very solid day for us," Cohen said. "He hit two balls pretty well."
Frazier had two hits to record his sixth multiple hit game of the session. Norris also had two hits for his third multi-hit game of the year.
Demarcus Henderson also had a hit to extend his hitting streak to nine games. C.T. Bradford has reached base safely in all nine games this season. He had a single and was walked.
MSU will be back in action Tuesday against Rhode Island. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sophomore right hander Brandon Woodruff will get the start for MSU. The Bulldogs will follow that up with another 4 p.m. game on Wednesday against the Rams.
The Bulldogs from Birmingham used two walks with the bases loaded and a sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth inning to outlast the Boilermakers and give head coach Casey Dunn his 250th career win.
Samford designated hitter C.K. Irby hit a fly ball to right field for a sacrifice fly to give his team a three-run lead.
The Bulldogs (5-4) took an early 3-0 lead with three runs in the second inning. Purdue (3-5) answered back with three runs of its own in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game at 3-3.
Samford Alex Milazzo (2-0) earned the win. He pitched seven innings. He gave up three runs on five hits. He walked six batters and struck out another seven.
The Bulldogs were led offensively by Drew Mcwhorter who had two hits. Tommy Corbin had two RBI to lead Samford.
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