STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Seven of nine starters collected a hit and 12 Bulldogs reached base at least once, as the Mississippi State baseball program collected a 17-4 victory over Jackson State in non-conference action on Tuesday (Feb. 26) at Dudy Noble Field.
All nine starters reached base at least once in the contest for MSU (7-1), while the Bulldog pitching staff scattered eight JSU (2-6) hits over nine innings. Five Diamond Dawgs collected multi-hit games, as Justin Foscue, Marshall Gilbert, Rowdey Jordan, Jake Mangum and Jordan Westburg all chipped in two hits apiece.
Foscue and Gilbert each hit third-inning home runs, with Gilbert hitting a leadoff home run for his first of the season, while Foscue launched a two-run home run for his third of the year.
In all, Mississippi State’s offense had 12 hits, walked eight times and reached via hit-by-pitch on three occasions. Twelve of the 17 runs came via RBI, as well.
Freshman Eric Cerantola tossed three innings in the contest to earn the victory for MSU. He allowed a pair of hits and struck out two batters in his first career start. Two other Diamond Dawgs made their pitching debuts, as freshman Bryce Brock and redshirt-junior Tyler Spring each saw time on the mound. Brock allowed three runs – one earned – on three hits in two innings. Spring tossed a scoreless inning with three strikeouts and one hit allowed.
Head Coach Chris Lemonis
On the freshman pitcher’s performance
“I thought Eric [Cerantola] was really good in his start. I thought Bryce [Brock] was really good for his first two innings. I think he may have gotten a little tired on us there in the sixth….I thought Brandon’s [Smith] inning was the key to the game for us, because that game could have [become] really tight there. He came in as a young kid and just threw strikes and that’s all we ask of you. We were pretty happy with him.”
On the offense getting going in the third inning
“Pitch selection, and [hitting pitches] up [in the zone]. The velocity wasn’t very high, so you really had to slow it down and try and get base hits. It’s just really hard to face those guys sometimes. We had a couple really good balls early that they just ran under. Marshall [Gilbert] gets us the lead and then we are able to put some pressure on them after that. I think that was huge.”
On the competition at catcher
“I think it’s coming in every day, including Luke [Hancock], we have four catchers that are all trying to get starting spots. So, the competition there is that you have to bring it every day, because if you’re not, you have three other guys that are. That part helps out a lot because the intensity level is really high all the time, including during practices.”
Eric Cerantola – Picked up his first collegiate win with three innings of shutout work on the mound. Allowed two hits and struck out two. Didn’t walk a batter.
Jake Mangum – Moved up two spots on the career doubles charts with a pair of two-baggers. Walked, scored three runs, stole one base and drove in one RBI.
Jordan Westburg – Drove in three RBIs and scored twice. Had two hits, including a double. Stole a base.
Eight with RBIs – Eight Diamond Dawgs drove in at least one RBI in the game, including multi-RBI efforts from Westburg (3), Allen (2) and Foscue (2).
Reaching Base – Twelve of the 13 Bulldogs to record a plate appearance reached base in the game, with seven of nine starters recording a hit.
Raul Hernandez – Posted a pair of hits, including a double, and drove in an RBI.
Chandler Dillard – Had a pair of hits for the Tigers.
A five-run third inning started with a leadoff home run to left field by Marshall Gilbert, his first of the season. After a single from Landon Jordan and a double from Jake Mangum put runners on second and third with no outs, Jordan Westburg plated the next run with an RBI groundout and Tanner Allen’s sacrifice fly made it 3-0 in favor of MSU. After a walk to Elijah MacNamee, Justin Foscue capped the scoring in the inning with a two-run home run to left field.
Mississippi State 5, Jackson State 0
Jackson State got on the board against relieve Bryce Brock in his third inning of work, as the first five hitters reached base. An error started the inning and two singles followed, the second of the RBI variety by Jaylyn Williams. After a hit batter put runners on first and second, Raul Hernandez singled in the second run of the frame. The final run scored on a Tyler Culpepper ground out.
Mississippi State 5, Jackson State 3
The Bulldogs responded with four runs of their own in the sixth inning, as the first seven batters reached base. Rowdey Jordan and Gilbert each singled to open the frame, before Landon Jordan reached on a fielder’s choice, which erased Gilbert, but scored Rowdey Jordan. Mangum then doubled to put runners on second and third, before Westburg’s double scored two. After Tanner Allen was hit by a pitch, Westburg stole third base and eased home on a throwing error by the JSU catcher.
Mississippi State 9, Jackson State 3
The Bulldogs scored eight runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, doing so with only one hit. Jackson State committed three errors, walked six batters and threw two wild pitches. Only three of the runs were earned in the frame, as MSU sent 12 hitters to the plate. Gunner Halter, Mangum, Allen and Brad Cumbest each collected RBIs in the frame. One run scored on a wild pitch, while three others came across via errors. Rowdey Jordan had the only hit of the frame for MSU, a single in the second at bat of the inning.
Mississippi State 17, Jackson State 3
Jackson State scored its fourth run off of MSU reliever Spencer Price, as pinch hitter Rahman Williams doubled with one out in the inning and came around to score thanks to a pair of wild pitches.
Mississippi State 17, Jackson State 4
Mississippi State will host the final game of its season-opening nine-game homestand by hosting Southeastern Louisiana at 5:30 on Wednesday (Feb. 27) at Dudy Noble Field.