No. 3 Mississippi State moved to 16-0 Tuesday night at Dudy Noble Field with a 14-2 win over Mississippi Valley State after a sluggish start to the game.
MSU starter Brandon Woodruff only went 1/3 of an inning and was touched for one hit and one earned run while walking a batter on twelve pitches.
“We didn’t feel like Woodruff had his command,” said John Cohen. “I think in the long, this outing will be really good for him because he can point back to this and gain from this. We know he’s much better than the way he performed tonight.”
Senior Luis Pollorena (3-0) replaced Woodruff and finished the first inning with two strikeouts. Pollorena would retire the first nine batters he faced and finished with only allowing one hit and one earned run on forty-nine pitches while striking out six over 3.1 innings to earn the win.
“I thought Pollo came in behind (Woodruff) and gave us energy and really threw it in the strike zone,” said Cohen.
The bats heated up quick after the first inning for the Bulldogs finishing with fourteen runs on seventeen hits.
The Bulldogs had nine extra base hits led by Alex Detz who went 2-2 with a double, triple, and an RBI.
Hitting .179 on the season, Brett Pirtle had a huge night for MSU. Pirtle went 2-4 with a double and a solo homerun while flashing some big time leather in the field on multiple occasions.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that he is going to hit,” said Cohen. “I know the numbers don’t support that right now, but he had a great fall and he’s someone who doesn't swing and miss. We just think he’s going to hit and a night like tonight can give you a little confidence going forward.”
The juco transfer second baseman said that praying and encouraging words from teammates have kept him moving forward.
“You go in a slump, but the best teammates in the world will come through for you,” said Pirtle. “My bats always been there, but If I’m not doing good hitting, I might as well do as best as I can defensively to help out the team the best I can.”
“They were amazed (teammates after his homerun) because I never pull the ball. Luckily I've been praying about my slump and God has helped me out,” said Pirtle.
MSU junior outfielder Hunter Renfroe also went deep after hitting a few balls to the warning track.
“It was a curveball or a slider on the outside part of the plate that he left up a little bit and it went out. It surprised me, but it went a long way,” said Renfroe. “My hand is feeling good and my swing is feeling really good.”
Renfroe added that the team was not completely focused before the game.
“We were a little lackadaisical at first and got it pumping after a while, but we can’t do that in the SEC. Of course we will be a little more pumped for that, but we have to take every game seriously and I’m sure Coach Cohen will address that,” said Renfroe. “You have to learn from it.”
The Bulldogs will return to Dudy Noble Field this weekend for a series against Central Arkansas.