STARKVILLE, Miss. – Behind a strong pitching performance from Brandon Woodruff and Myles Gentry, the Mississippi State baseball team knocked off Holy Cross 6-2 in the opening game of a four-game series at Dudy Noble Field.
The junior right-hander Woodruff (1-1) fell one out shy of a quality start but did manage to throw 5.2 innings to garner his first win of the season. Sophomore right-hander Gentry followed with 3.1 innings of one-hit shutout relief to secure his first career save.
“It was really nice to see Brandon come out and pitch well and actually see his arm turn around,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “He showed three pitches – a very good fastball, very good slider and a change up to lefties. The only mistake he made tonight was the drop at first base. We work on that so much and you got to make those plays.”
Woodruff was touched for a run on two hits in the fourth inning. After striking out the side, a misplay on a routine ground ball ended Woodruff’s day with two outs in the sixth inning. The error – MSU’s only one – drew the Crusaders within 3-2.
Gentry followed in relief and got 10 of the 13 batters he faced.
“Myles comes in and mixes it up with some movement,” Cohen said. “He was outstanding creating sink. He really salivates with all those right-handers on a single club.”
MSU (3-2) regained control of the contest with back-to-back RBI-singles from Wes Rea and Brett Pirtle in the sixth inning and an RBI-single from Jake Vickerson in the seventh inning.
The Bulldogs built the early lead with RBI-singles from Alex Detz and C.T. Bradford in the first inning. Reid Humphreys had his first career hit and career RBI with a single in the fifth inning.
MSU finished with 10 hits and stole eight bases for the fourth time ever – one shy of the school record. Left fielder Jacob Robson had three of those steals.
“We did a good job of sticking to our tools and our identity tonight and it worked,” Robson said. “We have tons of speed on the team, especially in the outfield, so we don’t care who we are playing. We are going to use our speed all the time.”
The top two hitters in the lineup, Vickerson and Detz were a combined 4-for-7 with two RBIs and three stolen bases. Detz has now reached base safely in 28 straight games.
“I thought we did a better job controlling the strike zone at the plate,” Cohen said. “Gradually, we’re starting to let the game come to us offensively and that is a comfort level.”
Bradford also had multi-hits for the Bulldogs.
The four-game weekend series continues with an 11 a.m. doubleheader Saturday and concludes with a 1:30 p.m. start Sunday.