The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Baseball off to red-hot 8-1 start

 
After taking a series from Belmont over the weekend, the Diamond Dawgs were back in action Tuesday night taking on the Alcorn State Braves. Going into Tuesday’s game, State ranked second in the SEC with seven home runs this season and fifth with a team batting average of .331. The team’s 12 hits in Tuesday’s game went right along with this stat.
Coach John Cohen made sure his team was ready for the mid-week game as he noted that often big schools lose focus playing weaker teams.
“These are some of those games that really frighten you,” Cohen said. “When you’re at certain programs in the middle of the week and you get to play an SEC team, there’s huge incentive, and sometimes that SEC team doesn’t have as much incentive as they should; that’s something we really try to do with our kids is to really challenge them in the middle of the week and explain to them how important these games really are.”
The Bulldogs stayed focused during this mid-week game and defeated the Braves 8-1.
So far this season, State has proven to be a first inning team as it has scored 20 first inning runs in the first eight games. Tuesday was no different as the Dawgs scratched across three first inning runs on RBIs by Jarrod Parks, Jonathan Ogden and Cody Freeman.
In the fourth inning after C.T. Bradford was hit by a pitch to score a run, Parks smoked a single that plated two runners to give the Dawgs a commanding six-run lead.
Starting pitcher Kendall Graveman had a solid one-hitter going until the fifth when he gave up Alcorn State’s lone run of the game. However, Graveman got some help from his defense when center fielder Brent Brownlee threw a runner out at home to end the inning.
Two more RBIs by Brownlee and Ryan Collins were more than enough for Graveman, who allowed only three hits through seven innings to record his first win of the season and State’s sixth quality start this year. Graveman, who finished with a career-high seven strikeouts, was pleased he threw seven strong innings to save the bullpen from being too busy.
“The deeper you can go into ball games, the more it saves the bullpen for the rest of the season, and it keeps you fresh longer,” Graveman said. “We ran into trouble with this last year, but we’re doing a great job this year so far.”
Graveman’s ground-ball style of pitching makes him tough for opponents who thrive off fly balls, and his teammates enjoy his pitching style. Parks, who plays third base, must always be alert with Graveman on the mound.
“He throws a lot of strikes and gets a lot of ground balls, so he’s fun to play behind because the first pitch is going to be a ground ball right to you,” Parks said. “I love playing behind him.”
Tim Statz relieved Graveman to begin the eighth and sat the Braves down 1-2-3. Bradford then moved from right field to the mound and saw his first pitching action of the year in the ninth. The freshman standout struck out two of his three outs to start his collegiate pitching career out strong.
This weekend, the Bulldogs host Iowa and Georgia State in a double round-robin series. State kicks off the weekend today at 2:30 p.m. and plays again Saturday at noon and 4 p.m. before finishing the weekend Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Baseball off to red-hot 8-1 start