STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State passed the first test in a critical weekend series against Central Arkansas.
Despite spring break on the MSU campus, the Bulldogs were up to the challenge, squeezing past Central Arkansas 4-2 in an exciting college baseball contest played at Dudy Noble Field.
Entering the final weekend of a season-opening 19-game homestand, the third-ranked Bulldogs improved to 17-0, while the Southland Conference leading Bears slipped to 12-2.
"Our pitching was outstanding tonight," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "We really beat a great baseball team tonight. We beat a great team the way you have to most nights. You have to pitch it well. You have to make the plays defensively. You also have to have some key hits."
The Bulldogs played errorless ball and saw seven pitchers combine on a four-hitter. The atypical pitching staff number occurred after starting pitcher Jacob Lindgren left the game after taking a line drive off his left knee in the second at-bat of the contest.
"We will know more about Jacob tomorrow," Cohen said. "Hopefully, we can get him back rather quickly. Myles Gentry did a great job, being pressed into service like that. Will Cox gave us two really strong innings."
Gentry earned his first victory in the Maroon and White, while making staff-highest ninth appearance. In 4.1 innings of work, the true freshman right-hander allowed no hits and no runs, with three strikeouts. Chad Girodo followed and got the Bulldogs out of a tight spot in the fifth inning.
Cox allowed two hits and one run (earned) in two innings of work. C.T. Bradford appeared twice in the eighth inning, before giving way to Ben Bracewell first and Jonathan Holder last.
Holder allowed a home run to Michael Marietta but completed the ninth inning with three strikeouts for his sixth save. Holder now has 15 career saves at MSU, which ties him with Adam Larson for seventh all-time at MSU.
"Offensively, we put some things together against a great pitcher," Cohen said. "I thought we did good job of taking advantage of our speed and set some things up."
The Bulldogs built a 4-0 lead with a sacrifice fly from Hunter Renfroe in the fourth inning; back-to-back RBI-singles by Demarcus Henderson and Sam Frost in the fifth inning and a run-producing double play ball in the sixth inning.
MSU finished with seven hits. Renfroe's multi-hit game included his second triple of the season.
The Bulldogs and Bears meet again at 2 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.