Mississippi State sophomore outfielder Hunter Renfroe takes a potential home run away from Ole Miss' Matt Snyder during the Bulldogs 4-2 victory. Photo by: MSU athletics
April 29, 2012 6:35:39 PM
STARKVILLE - Mississippi State University baseball coach John Cohen does not believe the feeling of giving is better than receiving because he and his club left Dudy Noble Field in a much better mood Sunday.
After, by his own admission following the game, giving the contest away Saturday in a 6-2 loss to the University of Mississippi, MSU got handed a 4-2 series finale victory the next day.
""I think we're pitching it and we're defending it at a very high level," Cohen said. "If you were to ask 'hey John would you prefer to lose this game and get 15 hits or win this game and get two?' then I think we'll take what we got. It's not secret we are not a great offensive club right now including HBPs."
In a first inning Ole Miss starting pitcher Tanner Bailey isn't sure to forget for some time, MSU (27-17, 10-11 in Southeastern Conference) plated all four its runs in the game with only one hit - a single by Mitch Slauter - mixed in with two walks and and a trio of hit Bulldogs batters.
"Just disappointing," Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. "This was one we thought we gave away in the first. We hit as many people today than we have in a month."
The home team won the conference series between in-state rivals for the first time since 2007. Fourth-year MSU head coach John Cohen has won three of four series matchups with the Rebels.
MSU now enters the final three weeks of the season in a three-way tie for third in the Western Division.
MSU got a solid effort on the mound out of a lefty-righty combination that was anticipated to be the bullpen bridge for the club this season.
In his first conference start of the season, Pollorena (3-0) matched a season-high with 5.1 innings pitched and set a new career high with seven strikeouts.
"I was shagging fly balls in the outfield when I found out I was going to get the start," Pollorena said. "I just wanted to come in and help the team any way I could. This was a big win for us."
Against Ole Miss this season, Pollorena threw 10.2 innings, allowing seven hits and one earned run, with two walks and 12 strikeouts.
"It's hard to win a baseball game with two hits," Cohen said. "You can do that when you have this type of pitching. Pollo gave us a tremendous start today. He really set the tone and got our defense back into the dugout quickly on numerous occasions."
Preseason All-American selection Caleb Reed closed out the sixth inning and finished the contest for his eighth save of the season. The MSU closer now has 20 saves, which is third all-time at MSU.
MSU centerfielder Hunter Renfroe robbed Matt Snyder of an apparent home run on a well-hit ball to the outfield in the fourth inning.
"(This series win) is probably a game-changer going into next week," Renfroe said.
The Bulldogs will take the midweek off due to final examinations on the MSU campus. SEC play resumes next weekend when MSU travels to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama. The Bulldogs and Tide will meet at 6:35 p.m. Friday, 2:05 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Mississippi State (27-17, 10-11) 4,
Ole Miss (28-16, 10-11) 2
W - Luis Pollorena (3-0) 5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K in 78 pitches
L - Tanner Bailey (1-1) 0+ IP, H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 0 K in 16 pitches
S - Caleb Reed (8) 3.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K in 52 pitches
MVP: Luis Pollorena
Turning point: 1st inning - The Bulldogs chased Ole Miss starting pitcher Tanner Bailey (1-1) after just four batters in the first inning. Bailey walked two, hit one and allowed a base hit. A bases-loaded walk to Daryl Norris forced in the game's first run.
In relief, Dylan Chavez got a strikeout before hitting back-to-back batters forcing in two more runs. A sacrifice-fly by Wes Rea capped the one-hit, four-run first inning for the Bulldogs.
Numbers of the day
22 - The hitting streak of Alex Yarbrough that was ended Sunday with an 0-for-4 day at the plate.
7- Number of strikeouts, a career-high, for MSU junior left-handed Luis Pollorena today.
.143 - The batting average for MSU in this series and took two of the games against Ole Miss.
2007 - The last year the home team took the three-game series between the two in-state rivals.
2 - The amount of games between fifth and 10th in the Southeastern Conference.
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. Summer musical promises 'magical' entertainment ENTERTAINMENT
4. Mathematics Guides Us True BOOK REVIEWS