HOUSTON (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - To close out a 12-day road trip, No. 21 Mississippi State rode a solid weekend on the mound to three victories in the Shiner's College Classic at Minute Maid Park.
MSU completed a weekend sweep to finish its season-opening 11-game road swing with a 4-1 win over Sam Houston State.
In three tournament victories, MSU (6-5) allowed 17 hits and four earned runs with 39 strikeouts in 30 innings of work.
"We pitched well the entire weekend," MSU head coach Gary Henderson said. "We did much better with our concentration. We have shown this weekend what this team is capable of doing on the mound with focus. Defensively, we were great. Our entire infield was exceptional. We made some great plays when the other team was threatening to score."
In Sunday's victory, the Bulldogs got all the offense they would need by scoring three times in the first inning.
Jake Mangum singled, took second on an error and scored on a Tanner Allen triple. With two outs, Hunter Vansau drew a walk. Luke Alexander ripped an RBI-single to score Allen. A bases-loaded walk issued to Tanner Poole eventually brought Vansau home.
That would be more than enough offense for the pitching trio of Jacob Billingsley, Keegan James and Cole Gordon.
Billingsley (1-0) allowed five hits and no runs in six innings of work, with six strikeouts and two walks. Keegan James worked the seventh inning before being lifted with two outs in the eighth inning. Cole Gordon faced the final six batters of the game to earn his first save.
MSU plated an insurance score in the seventh inning when Luke Alexander scored on a wild pitch.
Sam Houston (7-4) broke up the shutout on an RBI-single by Jaxxon Grisham in the eighth inning.
The Bulldogs finished with 11 hits, played errorless ball and stranded 12 base runners.
Poole had three hits, while Mangum and Allen each had two hits.
With State's 11-game season-opening stretch away from home now complete, the Diamond Dawgs will return to Starkville for their home opener on March 6 against New Mexico State with a 6:30 p.m. CT first pitch. Tickets for Tuesday's game, along with all of MSU's home games and some road games, can be purchased through HailState.com/tickets.
For more information on the Diamond Dawg program, follow the program on Twitter, like them on Facebook and join them on Instagram by searching for "HailStateBB." You can also find all-access coverage of the program on SnapChat by searching for "HailStateSnap."
SHRINER'S COLLEGE CLASSIC SCHEDULE (All times Central)
Friday, March 2 – Sam Houston State 7, Vanderbilt 6 (10 innings)
Friday, March 2 – Kentucky 14, Houston 2 (7 innings)
Friday, March 2 – Mississippi State 3, Louisiana 1
Saturday, March 3 – Kentucky 7, Sam Houston State 2
Saturday, March 3 – Louisiana 3, Vanderbilt 0
Saturday, March 3 – Mississippi State 3, Houston 2 (12 innings)
Sunday, March 4 – Kentucky 10, Louisiana 4
Sunday, March 4 –Mississippi State 4, Sam Houston State 1
Sunday, March 4 – Houston at Vanderbilt (8:35 p.m.)