Well if there’s one way to bounce back from two disappointing weeks of SEC baseball, I think we found it. With the 20th ranked South Carolina Gamecocks coming into town on Easter weekend, the Mississippi State Baseball Dawgs looked to break out of a deep slump. If the Bulldogs were able to do so, then they would have a jump start needed to make a run for a regional. But first, the Bulldogs needed to get past the South Carolina Friday ace, Crowe.
The Bulldogs started LHP Lucas Laster tonight against a stout South Carolina lineup, and boy did he impress. Laster picked up his second complete game and accumulated a career-high 8 strikeouts throughout the game. Laster pitched 110 pitches, 75 of which were strikes, which gave him a 68.18% strike percentage. That’s pretty darn good for a pitcher to have those numbers. Lucas walked only one batter, while giving up 8 hits and 2 ER. Laster’s record improved to 4-1 on the season.
The South Carolina pitching staff got a workout, however, from the Bulldog lineup. The Gamecocks burned through 5 pitchers en route to tonight’s 13-2 loss. Their starting pitcher, Crowe, pitched 2 2/3 innings and gave up 8 runs, 6 earned during his tenure on the mound. He was replaced by Murray who only pitched the end of that inning, a strikeout. The next inning, the Gamecocks brought out Vogel to pitch for 2 innings which saw him give up 2 ER in 8 batters faced. He was replaced by Reagan who pitched 1/3 of an inning, but walked a batter before getting an out recorded. The South Carolina staff replaced Reagan with Johnson, who closed out the game for them in 2 2/3 inning. Johnson, however, gave up 3 ER on 5 hits and a walk.
Tonight was the night for the bats of MSU to come alive. I seriously think John Cohen read our April Fool’s article about going to a traditional approach, and the team responded tremendously. The Mississippi State Diamond Dawgs went to the dish 32 times tonight and connected for 12 hits and 10 RBIs. The Bulldogs also forced 3 fielding errors that led to scores. The Bulldogs also drew 6 walks, while striking out only 4 times. Mississippi State left only 7 men on base, which is a stark improvement over the last couple of games where runners were left in bulk. Easily, the player of the game was John Holland who went 3-5 with 2 doubles, 4 RBIs, and 1 run scored.
In other news, the Bulldogs will look to build on their 13-2 victory tomorrow at 3:00 PM CDT. The first pitch was moved up from the original 6:30 PM CDT time due to the threat of inclement weather. The game can still be seen on SEC Network + (Online).