Sometimes adversity early in an outing for a freshman pitcher can cause a negative chain of events.
That wasn't the case for Mississippi State freshman hurler Will Cox on Sunday.
Despite committing a throwing error that opened the door for the first run of the game for Mississippi Valley State, Cox shook off the miscue and led the Bulldogs to a 5-1 victory over the Delta Devils at Dudy Noble Field.
Cox ended up working seven innings, giving up up three hits and one unearned. He had eight strikeouts and no walks to win his first decision of the season.
"I just like to go out, pump the zone and let the defense work," Cox said.. "I like to throw strikes and let the hitters beat us. The team did a great job playing defense. You can't say enough about the defense. I just kept throwing strikes. It was a great win."
Mississippi State swept its four-game weekend series with Mississippi Valley State and Kansas to improve its record to 6-1.
After the Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead with a two-run double by Daryl Norris in the first inning, Cox had the throwing error that led to the first run of the game for Mississippi Valley.
Cox retired 13-straight batters following a double by Daniel Anderson.
"I just had to regain focus," Cox said. "You can't make those mistakes so I've got some more work to do."
MSU baseball coach John Cohen saw the panic that led to Cox's error, but that was the only flaw he saw in the outing.
"It was really clean," Cohen said. "(Cox) has great movement (on pitches) and is a strike thrower. We knew that coming out of high school and his slider has come a long way. When that 88 and 89 (miles per hour) becomes 92 and 93 one day and it will, he's going to be a force, but right now he's a very good freshman pitcher for us."
The Bulldogs added to their lead with one run in the sixth and two more in the eighth. Adam Frazier drove in the sixth-inning run with a double, while C.T. Bradford and Wes Rea had one RBI single each in the eighth.
Frazier, Rea and Norris had two hits each for MSU. Frazier and Norris had the only extra base hits.
Cox was followed on the mound by another freshman in Jonathan Holder, who tossed the final two innings to pick up his first save of the season.
Cohen likes his freshman arms and the veterans that are bringing them along.
"Our freshman have really developed," Cohen said. "Butch is doing a good job with them, but there are also some older guys that really help them get better."
The Bulldogs host Memphis on Wednesday in their first midweek action of the season. Cohen has yet to announce a starting pitcher for the 4 p.m. matchup.