STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics/WTVA) - After allowing two runs in the bottom of the first inning of game one in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field, the Mississippi State pitching staff shutout Youngstown State the rest of the way and the offense piled up 22 runs to claim the final two games in the series and complete the season-opening sweep.
The Bulldogs (3-0) won the first game of the day 14-2, before five pitchers combined on a shutout in the second game, an 8-0 victory. It is the first 3-0 start for the program since the 2015 squad 13-0, winning its four season-opening games against a pair of schools from Ohio (Cincinnati & Miami).
Youngstown State (0-3) opened the scoring with Blaze Glenn’s game-one, two-out, two-run home run, but that was all the runs the Penguins could muster over the 18 innings of baseball. State responded with three in the bottom of the inning and went on to score 22 total runs in the two victories.
On the day, sophomore Tanner Allen went 5-for-8 with three extra base hits – two doubles and a home run – and nine RBIs. Sophomore Jordan Westburg tripled for his lone hit of the afternoon, but reached base seven times – three walks and three hit-by-pitch – to account for a .700 on-base percentage. Sophomore Justin Foscue drove in three RBIs and hit his first home run of the season, while Elijah MacNamee plated three RBIs.
The pitching staff was also on point, as nine pitchers combined to allowed two runs on 10 hits over 18 innings. The staff struck out 25 and walked just seven. Of the 10 hits, nine were singles, and the State defense committed just two errors on the weekend.
Freshman JT Ginn took the mound for his first collegiate start in the opener of the day, tossing five innings and allowed just the two first-inning runs. He fanned seven, walked one and allowed just two hits to collect the victory. After missing the 2017 season and appearing 26 times in relief in 2018, junior Keegan James made his first start since April 13, 2016 and threw five scoreless innings. He allowed four hits, walked two and struck out six to earn the victory.
Seven relievers combined to throw eight scoreless innings on the afternoon, striking out 12 batters, walking four and giving up four hits. Along with Ginn’s seven strikeouts in game one, Jack Eagan (four), Eric Cerantola (two) and Spencer Price (two) combined to strikeout eight batters over the last four innings of game one.
Head Coach Chris Lemonis
On the opening weekend sweep
“It was a good weekend, all around, with all the festivities. I think it just worked out great. Our guys got to get out there and get comfortable. It took us a couple of innings on Friday night, but they got out there and did a great job. I was impressed this weekend. We pounded the strike zone, we made a lot of plays on the weekend. Those guys had a really good offensive weekend. It was nice to get them out there and get the butterflies out for players and coaches. Taking everything in was nice.”
On the adrenalin of opening weekend
“You know, playing in front of the best fans in College Baseball will give you an adrenaline rush and get your heart beating, and it gave us a lot of energy. We came out playing with energy, took care of business, and swept the weekend. We finished on a good note. A bunch of guys came in, like Trysten Barlow, Spencer Price, guys coming off surgery, and they did great. I am happy for them.
On his first collegiate home run
“You get the chills for sure. It’s one of those things that you can take for granted kind of. It doesn’t happen very often, especially as a freshman. Your first hit isn’t usually a home run. It was just really nice knowing that the guys are there for you. Having Jake [Mangum] talking to me before and saying “hey, you’re going to get your first hit.” It was one of those positive things and all of the guys are there for you.”
JT Ginn – Made his collegiate debut and collected his first win with five innings of, two-hit, two-run work. He fanned seven batters and walked one in the opening game of the doubleheader.
Keegan James – Made his first start since April 13, 2016 – making 26 relief appearances in 2018 – and tossed five scoreless innings. Allowed four hits, struck out six and walked two in the second game.
Tanner Allen – Went 5-for-8 on the day with two doubles and his second home run of the season. Drove in nine RBIs. Didn’t strike out in nine plate appearances.
Jordan Westburg – Posted a .700 on-base percentage with a triple, three walks and three hit-by-pitch in 10 plate appearances. Scored four runs and drove in one RBI.
The ‘Pen – Mississippi State’s bullpen didn’t allow a run in eight innings on Saturday, striking out 12 batters, walking four and allowing just four hits.
4-5-6 – The No. 4, 5 and 6 batters in State’s lineup combined for three walks, five runs scored, 10 hits and 15 RBIs in the two games on Saturday. In total, six of the 10 hits by Allen, Foscue and MacNamee went for extra bases.
Blaze Glenn – Accounted for both of Youngstown State’s runs in the doubleheader, hitting a two-run home run in the first inning of game one.
Game One Scoring Recap
A home run again opened the scoring for Youngstown State, as Blaze Glenn smacked a two-run home run to left field off of Ginn. Cameron Murray reached base via a hit-by-pitch with one out in the frame, with Glenn’s home run coming with two outs in the inning.
Youngstown State 2, Mississippi State 0
The offense got rolling early in the second game of the weekend, scoring three runs in the opening frame. Three of the first four batters reached base, including a Jake Mangum single and walks by Rowdey Jordan and Allen. MacNamee followed with a two-RBI single and Foscue plated another run with a sacrifice fly.
Mississippi State 3, Youngstown State 2
A four-run second inning got started with a one-out single from Mangum. Rowdey Jordan singled, with Mangum going first to third on the hit and scoring on a throwing error by the right fielder. After a walk to Westburg, Allen highlighted the frame with a three-run home run to right center field.
Mississippi State 7, Youngstown State 2
Allen brought home three more runs in the third inning with a double. Allen’s second extra base hit of the game came with two outs and scored Mangum and Westburg, who reached via walk and hit-by-pitch, respectively.
Mississippi State 10, Youngstown State 2
After a flyout started the frame, four-straight hitters reached base with two outs, beginning with a double from freshman Landon Jordan. Junior Dustin Skelton plated the first run of the inning with an RBI single and, after junior Gunner Halter reached on an error, Jake Mangum capped the inning with a two-RBI double.
Mississippi State 13, Youngstown State 2
Freshman Brad Cumbest had a pinch-hit, RBI single in the fifth inning for his first collegiate hit and RBI to cap the scoring in game one.
Mississippi State 14, Youngstown State 2
Game Two Scoring Recap
Foscue hit his fourth collegiate home run and first at Dudy Noble Field to lead off the second inning and open the scoring in the second game.
Mississippi State 1, Youngstown State 0
MacNamee and Foscue each plated runs in the third inning, with MacNamee scoring Westburg from third on a fielder’s choice for the first run. Foscue followed with an RBI double to left center to expand the lead to 3-0.
Mississippi State 3, Youngstown State 0
Allen did all of his damage in threes on the second day of the season, plating three runs with a double down the right field line.
Mississippi State 6, Youngstown State 0
Freshman Hayden Jones picked up his first collegiate hit via a 400-foot home run with one out in the fifth inning.
Mississippi State 7, Youngstown State 0
After reaching base six times over the first 16 innings of the weekend, Westburg capped his weekend with a triple into the left-center field gap to score Rowdey Jordan from second.
Mississippi State 8, Youngstown State 0
Mississippi State will continue its nine-game homestand to start the 2019 season with a midweek contest against UAB on Wednesday, Feb. 20. First pitch between the Bulldogs and Blazers is scheduled for 4 p.m.