STARKVILLE - The Mississippi State baseball program scored five times in the fourth inning to break open its series finale with Quinnipiac on Sunday (March 8) and sweep the three-game series with an 8-4 victory at Dudy Noble Field.
Mississippi State (10-4) scored twice in the first inning to take the lead, before Quinnipiac (1-11) plated one in the third and two in the fourth to take a lead. The Diamond Dawgs scored five times in the bottom of the fourth inning to recapture the lead. A single Bobcat run in the seventh and another MSU score in the eighth capped the scoring at 8-4.
Six different Diamond Dawgs reached base on multiple occasions, including three times each by juniors Josh Hatcher and Jordan Westburg, and freshman Logan Tanner. Freshman Kamren James, along with juniors Rowdey Jordan and Tanner Leggett all reached base twice in the series finale.
Tanner hit his second home run of the season to go along with two walks in the contest. Westburg had a pair of hits - including a double - was hit by a pitch, scored twice and drove in three RBIs. Hatcher had three hits and scored a run. Leggett singled, walked and reached on a wild pitch, scoring twice.
Graduate David Dunlavey (2-1) picked up the victory in relief of starting pitcher sophomore Eric Cerantola. Dunlavey tossed three hitless innings and struck out three. Cerantola allowed three runs on four hits and struck out four. Junior Chase Patrick surrendered the other run in one inning of work, while junior Jaxen Forrester and graduate Spencer Price each struck out one in hitless innings of relief.
Michael Kohn led Quinnipiac at the plate two RBIs on a 2-for-4 day. Kyle Maves was the only other Bobcat to reach base twice, with a hit and a walk in the contest. Colin Donnelly (0-2) took the loss after allowing six run - five earned - in 3 1/3 innings of work.
Head Coach Chris Lemonis
On what the weekend sweep meant
"It's huge. There's an old saying, 'it's a lot better to win than lose,' and I know it sounds simple, but it lets you wake up in a good mood. We're getting on a bus, we're traveling, and we're going to play a big opponent. I think it just puts a good taste in your mouth. Our goal every day, we talk about it a lot, is to play great baseball. We still feel like we can improve in a lot of areas, but the attitude around the ball club [will make that] bus ride to Biloxi a lot better."
Graduate David Dunlavey
On how he felt during his three innings of work
"I felt good today. I was pounding the zone, which is something that I've struggled with lately. I really felt like I had all of my stuff today. I came in a big spot, which I have become more comfortable with since I've been here. It was good to get out there, feel good, and put us back in the momentum column there in that game."
Junior Jordan Westburg
On getting the sweep of Quinnipiac
"This was huge. Yesterday wasn't pretty. Today we came out and played a lot better I thought. I thought the pitchers did a really good job of filling up the zone. I thought on offense that we were back to our normal selves a little bit. We really grinded the pitchers out and put hard at-bats together all day long. It was very good for us to come out and get a sweep this weekend, especially going into a tough week."
After Jordan Westburg was hit by a pitch with one out, Josh Hatcher singled, before an error on the right fielder put runners on second and third. Kamren James drove in both runners with a two-out double down the left field line.
Mississippi State 2, Quinnipiac 0
A hit-by-pitch to Kyle Horton started the inning, before he worked his way around to score. A sacrifice bunt, bunt base hit and a wild pitch produced the first run of the game for the Bobcats.
Mississippi State 2, Quinnipiac 1
A leadoff double by Dylan Lutz was followed by a walk to Andre Morrero. Michael Kohn then doubled to drive in two runs and end the afternoon for MSU starting pitcher Eric Cerantola. Reliever David Dunlavey retired the next three batters to hold the Bobcat lead at one run.
Quinnipiac 3, Mississippi State 2
Logan Tanner led off the inning with a home run down the left field line to tie the game and jump start the MSU offense. After a strikeout followed, five straight hits produced four more runs to push State out in front. Mason Land and Tanner Leggett each singled, before Rowdey Jordan drove in a run with a base hit. Westburg doubled to plate the next two runs, before scoring on back-to-back wild pitchers to cap the scoring.
Mississippi State 7, Quinnipiac 3
After MSU reliever Chase Patrick retired the first two batters of the inning, Quinnipiac used a pair of singles and a walk to scratch across a run. Evan Vulgamore delivered the RBI single to cut into the MSU lead.
Mississippi State 7, Quinnipiac 4
Leggett reached on a wild pitch following a strikeout, moved to third on a successful hit-and-run with Jordan and scored on a Westburg base hit.
Mississippi State 8, Quinnipiac 4
Mississippi State will travel to MGM Park in Biloxi for a two-game, midweek series with Texas Tech in the Hancock Whitney Classic. The Diamond Dawgs and Red Raiders will kick things off from the home of the Biloxi Shuckers on Tuesday, March 10 at 6 p.m.