June 8, 2013 7:59:48 PM
Adam Minichino - firstname.lastname@example.org
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The Mississippi State University baseball team is one victory away from getting back to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., for the first time since 2007.
MSU (47-18) pounded out 20 hits en route to an 11-6 victory against No. 6 national seed University of Virgina in the opening game of the three-game NCAA Charlottesville Super Regional at Davenport Field.
Adam Frazier had hits in all six plate appearances, driving in three runs, while Hunter Renfroe had four hits and also drove in three runs to lead the MSU offensive onslaught.
"We are really proud of our kids today," MSU coach John Cohen said. "We played a very good Virginia club. I think it was a lot sloppier than either one of our staffs would have liked, but it was a just a long grind-it-out type of game."
MSU will try to close the best-of-three series at 6 tonight in a game that will be televised on ESPNU. A third game, if necessary, would be played Monday at 3 p.m. and would be shown on ESPN2.
As if 20 hits weren't enough, MSU capitalized on four errors by Virginia (50-11) that led to six unearned runs. The Cavaliers, who had 11 hits, also hit into four double plays.
Kendall Graveman (7-5) allowed nine hits and six runs (four earned) in 5 1/3 innings for the Bulldogs. He struck out three and walked two. Ross Mitchell gave up two hits and three walks in the final 3 2/3 innings.
MSU turned double plays in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings to end Virginia rallies.
Brandon Waddell (6-3) lasted just 3 1/3 innings for the Cavaliers. He allowed six hits and six runs, three earned. The Cavaliers used five pitchers, all freshmen, and gave up a season high for hits.
Frazier had three singles, two doubles, and a triple. He is the fifth Bulldog to record six hits in a game. Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday afternoon, the Bulldog shortstop became the second player in school history to collect six hits in a postseason game, joining Burke Masters, who did it in a 1990 regional game against Florida State University. The sixth hit was Frazier's 100th this season. He is the fourth Bulldog to reach the 100-hit mark in a season.
"Six-hit games are really special," Frazier said. "You really don't pay that much attention to it while you are in the middle of the game. I am glad that it came in this situation. But it wasn't just me, the whole team had a great afternoon at the plate."
Renfroe, the No. 13 pick in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft on Thursday, singled three times and hit a two-run triple to center field. He had his second four-hit game of the season.
"I think the whole club is actually hitting very well right now, seeing the ball very good," Renfroe said. "It starts with a rhythm at the plate and once you have rhythm at the plate it's going to work very well for us and each individual. I think we are seeing the ball great right now, laying off bad pitches and not striking out a whole lot."
The Bulldogs led 2-0 after the top of the first inning, but Virginia scored three times in the bottom of the inning.
MSU went ahead to stay with two in the third, and added three runs in the fourth, one in the fifth, and two more in the sixth.
MSU had its second-best offensive afternoon of the season. The Bulldogs' 20 hits trailed only the 21 hits they had in a season-opening victory against the University of Portland.
The first three hitters in the MSU lineup (Frazier, Alex Detz, and Renfroe) were on base 15 times. Wes Rea and Demarcus Henderson also had three hits. Brett Pirtle added a hit and has now reached base in 38 straight games.
MSU also matched a season-high with four double plays, giving the Bulldogs 76 for the season.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.