March 3, 2012 2:29:00 PM
STARKVILLE - Hunter Renfroe's career day at the plate lifted the Mississippi State University to an early lead allowing them to cruise to a 6-4 victory over Lipscomb University Saturday afternoon.
The redshirt sophomore, who was in left field Saturday, went 3-for-4 with a career-high four RBIs. All of Renfroe's run-producing hits came in the first two innings when the Bulldogs (8-2) built a commanding 6-0 lead on Lipscomb left-handed starting pitcher Chris Nunn.
Nunn,a southpaw from Memphis, Tenn., has now given up 11 runs in 6 1/3 innings of work.
Nine of the first 13 batters that came to the plate for MSU made it on base leaving Bison coach Jeff Forehand no option but to have a quick hook with his junior pitcher on the mound.
In nine previous games MSU had only plated four runs in the opening inning and the Bulldogs matched that number against Lipscomb on Saturday morning.
Renfroe, who lifted his average from .350 to .417 in one game, had a single and bases-loaded double to break open the offensive onslaught for the Bulldogs lineup.
With runners in scoring position, MSU was 8-for-17 throughout the day with four two-out RBIs.
Daryl Norris, who leads MSU with eight RBIs on the season had a 2-for-4 effort with two runs scored batting in the three-hole of the lineup.
Freshman right-hander Trevor Fitts (2-0) got his second career victory after working 4 1/3 innings and allowing two unearned runs over four scattered hits and three strikeouts in 50 pitches.
Fitts, a two-time Louisville Slugger High School All-American selection at Pelham (Ala.) High School, compiled a 31-6 career record with nine saves and 10 shutouts in 53 mound appearances during his prep career.
The downside of the game for the Bulldogs was the two errors at shortstop by Matthew Britton in the ninth inning allowing Lipscomb (4-6) to bring the leading run to the plate. Britton, who scored the fifth-most all-time in Alabama and a school record-setting 86 hits in Cullman High School, also got picked off first base nearly immediately after slapping a single to right field.
The 5-foot-11 shortstop has now four errors this season in his first eight games.
Taylor Stark, a hard-throwing sophomore right-hander, mopped up the ninth inning for his first save of the 2012 season allowing MSU to not have to use senior All-American relief pitcher Caleb Reed in the first game of the doubleheader.
Mississipppi State (8-2) 6,
Lipscomb (4-6) 4
W - Trevor Fitts (2-0) 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K in 50 pitches
L - Chris Nunn (0-1) 1.2 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, K in 48 pitches
S - Taylor Stark (1) IP, H, K
Most Valuable Player: Mississippi State left fielder Hunter Renfroe - The 6-foot-2, 211-pound athlete had a career high for hits and RBIs in a single day Saturday.
"Renfroe is one of the major x-factors in the SEC," Baseball America national writer Aaron Fitt said. "If this guy can start tapping into his potential, look out. The sky is the limit with the most raw power of anybody in the Southeastern Conference."
Turning Point: 2nd inning - Renfore's bases-clearing double made it 6-0 MSU against Lipscomb starting pitcher Chris Nunn. Nine of the first 13 batters that came to the plate for MSU made it on base leaving Bison coach Jeff Forehand no option but to have a quick hook with his junior pitcher on the mound.
Next game: Today, 2:30 p.m. vs. University of Connecticut
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
2. The beat goes on at 'Unplugged 3' this week ENTERTAINMENT
3. CCT youth: Come on in, meet 'Mississippi Characters' ENTERTAINMENT