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Post-suspended play at Davenport Field: Mississippi State 5, Virginia 3 - Bulldogs stand six outs from Omaha

 

 

Matt Stevens

 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Mississippi State University baseball program is six outs from the College World Series.  

 

With the Bulldogs holding a 5-3 lead, the second weather delay forced both teams off the field with Hunter Renfroe facing a 0-2 count as the leadoff batter in the seventh inning. Game 2 of the Charlottesville Super Regional game is suspended & will be restarted at 3 p.m., today. If a Game 3 is necessary, it will start 55 mins after finish of the restarted game.  

 

Two years ago, MSU (47-18) was eighth out away from a trip to Omaha, Neb., as they held a 6-4 lead at the University of Florida in the 2011 Gainesville Super Regional and lost the final game thanks to a four-run rally by the nationally ranked Gators.  

 

With just six outs left to compete for a sweep in the 2013 NCAA Charlottesville Super Regional, MSU still has a relatively fresh bullpen with sophomore closer Jonathan Holder not being at all this weekend. Holder, who is one of five finalists for the 2013 Stopper of the Year award given to the nation's best relief pitcher, is likely to get the baseball when play resumes for the opportunity to pick up his 18th save of the season.  

 

MSU fans can credit another powerful relief effort from senior left handed pitcher Chad Girodo to the reason the Bulldogs are in this situation. In 4 2/3 innings, Girodo allowed five hits and two earned runs but had Virginia (50-11) confused over the diving slider to the tune of 10 strikeouts Sunday night. Over the last 11 1/3 innings of action, Girodo has recorded 22 strikeouts.  

 

MSU still has failed to use bullpen arms such as Holder, junior right hander Ben Bracewell and freshman right hander Myles Gentry in this 2013 Charlottesville Super Regional. While the likely scenario involves MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson turning the final six outs to Holder, the Bulldogs could still hold Bracewell and sophomore Ross Mitchell into a possible do-or-die game tonight.  

 

MSU built a 5-1 lead in the first four innings that was punctuated by a Wes Rea two-run home run that was crushed over the left field bleachers and deep into the trees beyond the stands over 400 feet from home plate. Rea's seventh home of the season also represented the first MSU round tripper of the 2013 postseason. 

 

Before MSU's offensive explosion in the third frame, a 22-minute weather delay had both teams questioning what to do with their starting pitching before they attempted to resume game two of the 2013 NCAA Charlottesville Super Regional. 

 

Silverstein (10-1, 2.86 ERA entering Sunday) struggled with his control after the initial rain delay in the second inning, and the Bulldogs erased Virginia's early 1-0 lead when Adam Frazier connected on an RBI single. Center fielder Brandon Downes, who got the Cavaliers on the scoreboard with a solo home run off MSU starter Trevor Fitts that cleared the left-field bleachers in the top half of the second inning, limited the damage by throwing out Mississippi State's DeMarcus Henderson at home plate. Frazier, who went 6 for 6 from the plate in Game 1, then chased Silverstein from the game with one out in the fourth inning after his second RBI. 

 

Virginia may have to complete the game two comeback without its two best arms of the 2013 season in Silverstein and closer Kyle Crockett tonight. Crockett was inserted in the game Sunday by Virginia coach Brian O'Connor as a last ditch effort to stop the MSU offensive attack in the fourth inning. Crockett, who was a third round pick by the Cleveland Indians this weekend, had run through two innings before the suspension of Sunday's game and is unlikely to be used again in the series once play resumes.  

 

In MSU's 11-6 victory in game one of the series Saturday, Virginia used three of its top six relievers in terms of number of appearances for the 2013 season. Therefore, the Cavaliers, which had only lost three home games this season before the 2013 Charlottesville Super Regional, will have to rely on unknown arms for a Monday comeback scenario in game two and a game three finale sequence.  

 

A win in either the suspended game or a game three whenever play is resumed would be the ninth time in school history and first time under Cohen, MSU would be going to the College World Series. The Bulldogs baseball program will be making its first appearance in Omaha, Neb., since 2007. Cohen, who made the College World Series as a MSU player in 1990, will be bringing his first team to the event as a coach.  

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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