A fast start carried the eighth-ranked Mississippi State baseball team to a 13-5 win over in-state rival Southern Mississippi in college baseball action Tuesday night.
Before a Trustmark Park crowd of 6,948, the Bulldogs beat the Golden Eagles for a fifth straight time, including three straight wins here. MSU snapped a two-game losing streak and won its first game away from Dudy Noble Field this season.
The Bulldogs (18-2) built an early lead with four runs in the first inning and quickly extended the lead to 7-0 after three innings of play. MSU collected eight extra-base hits and turned starting pitcher Luis Pollorena into a winner for a third straight time against Southern Miss.
"I thought Pollo did a great job of getting us going,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “He really threw it in the strike zone with two pitches, his fastball and his changeup. We didn’t hit a ton of balls hard early, but we forced people to make plays and we scored some runs. It snowballed a little bit from there.”
In the first inning, Adam Frazier drew a leadoff walk and took second on a Demarcus Henderson sacrifice bunt attempt. Alex Detz followed with a base hit. Hunter Renfroe doubled down the right field line for one run, while Mitch Slauter did the same down the left field line for two more scores. An RBI-single by Kyle Hann chased Southern Miss starter Mason Robbins and capped the big inning.
The lead grew in the second inning when Henderson and Detz drew back-to-back one-out walks. Renfroe doubled both runners home. In the third inning, a sacrifice-fly by Frazier extended the lead to 7-0.
The Bulldogs ran the lead to 10-1 in sixth inning.
In that at-bat, the extra-base hit again loomed large, as Frazier started things with a double. After a groundout, Detz walked and Renfroe hit his third home run of the year – a massive three-run shot to left center.
For Renfroe, it was his fifth home run of the season and ninth career round-tripper. The Bulldog right fielder matched a career high with three hits and set a career high with six RBIs. Fresh off a homer in Sunday’s defeat to Central Arkansas, Renfroe made it back-to-back games with a home run for the first time this season.
“I've always said this but there's just no limit to how good Hunter Renfroe can be,” Cohen said. “He hit a line drive out of the ballpark with a 10 mile-per-hour wind in his face. He's special and he's different and everybody knows that.”
Southern Miss (7-9) struck for four runs off Pollorena in the sixth inning. The Golden Eagles actually bunched together five straight hits to start the at-bat and chase Pollorena.
Pollorena allowed nine hits and five runs (four earned) in five-plus innings of work – his longest stint of the season. Ross Mitchell worked the Bulldogs out of that tight spot in the sixth inning and worked the final four frames for his first save of the season.
In the ninth inning, the Bulldogs plated three insurance scores. Nick Ammirati drew a lead-off walk. Frazier followed with an RBI-double. Henderson struck out but reached on a wild pitch. Detz followed with an RBI-double, while a passed ball scored Henderson.
The Bulldogs finished with 15 hits, including multi-hit games by Renfroe, Frazier, Detz and Sam Frost.
The Golden Eagles finished with 11 hits. Chase Fowler had three hits, while Isaac Rodriguez, Blake Brown and Breck Kline each had multiple hits. Robbins (1-2) took the loss. Five others followed to the mound for Southern Miss.
MSU returns home for its Southeastern Conference opener this weekend with fellow Top 10 foe LSU. The Bulldogs and Tigers meet at 6:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Dudy Noble Field.