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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Bulldogs sweep Vols, now .500 in SEC play

Blake Williams | MSU Athletics

Jake Mangum pitches during Sunday’s win against Tennessee. The Bulldogs swept the series and evened the SEC record at 3-3.

After being swept on the road at Arkansas to open SEC play, the Mississippi State Diamond Dogs returned to Dudy Noble Field and swept Tennessee to even their SEC record at 3-3 and improve their overall record to 15-10.

After coming back late in the seventh inning in game one, the Bulldogs’ bats got hot and they routed the Volunteers in game two and three. 

“I am proud of our guys for this effort,” Head Coach Andy Cannizaro said. “We fought hard for 27 innings. We defended the field well, pitched it well and had some really good timely hitting. This was a tremendous weekend for us. I am fired up about this weekend. I love the direction this team is headed.” 

In game one, Elijah Macnamee hit his first home run of the season to put the Bulldogs up. Tennessee answered back and took a 4-2 lead which lasted until the bottom of the seventh inning. Tanner Poole singled to cut the lead to one and Brent Rooker blasted a two-run double to give the Bulldogs the 5-4 lead and the series opening win.

In game two of the series, the MSU bats exploded for a season-high 14 runs and they tallied up 20 hits. The Bulldogs scored runs in each of the first four innings, and jumped out to a 13-0 lead. The Volunteers attempted a comeback, but the lead was too large and the Bulldogs took the game and the series 14-4. 

Jake Mangum led the team with four hits and got his career-high five RBIs. He scored two runs in the game, one coming from a Rooker home run. Mangum said getting swept in the opening SEC weekend really opened some Bulldogs’ eyes and got their feet in the door.

“Experience,” Mangum said. “I mean we have guys in their first SEC weekend on the road. It’s a big difference. SEC play is a lot of fun but it is a lot more nervous for freshman guys going out there and they have done a great job of evolving. We had a lot of step up in the line up tonight and that’s why we scored a lot of run.”

In the final game of the weekend, the Bulldogs completed the sweep behind another dominant hitting performance. After Mangum allowed a run in the first inning, he countered with a single in the bottom of the inning. Rooker then hit his second home run of the weekend to put the Bulldogs on top and never looked back.

MSU scored two more runs in the inning and held off the visiting Volunteers. Mangum sealed the game with a RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning and made the score 7-4.

After only hitting .183 in the series against Arkansas, MSU tallied up an impressive .406 batting average on the weekend. The front of the line-up was impressive with Mangum finishing with eight hits and Gridley finishing with seven. Rooker had six RBIs over the course of the weekend with two home runs.

Cannizaro said his team produced quality at-bats this weekend, which was a huge improvement from the weekend before.

“Our top of the order is really bringing it right now,” Cannizaro said. “We talk all the time about having quality at-bats. We are beginning to do that one through nine. Really proud that we were able to bounce back and win a series after a tough weekend in Arkansas.”

The Bulldogs head back on the road for a game against Memphis tonight at 6:30 CT. After the midweek matchup, the Bulldogs travel to Ole Miss for the weekend matchup. 

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Bulldogs sweep Vols, now .500 in SEC play