Mississippi State Clips Virginia in Super Regional Opener, 11-6

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
Kenny Towns

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
Kenny Towns
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

June 8, 2013

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Mississippi State collected 20 hits to grab an 11-6 win over Virginia and take a 1-0 lead in the 2013 NCAA Charlottesville Super Regional Saturday before a sell-out crowd of 4,956 at Davenport Field.

Mississippi State improves to 47-18 and Virginia falls to 50-11. The two teams meet again tomorrow night (June 9) at Davenport Field. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised live on ESPNU.

Joe McCarthy reached base in all five of his plate appearances for UVa, going 2-for-2 with three walks. Nick Howard (So., Olney, Md.) and Kenny Towns (So., Burke, Va.) each added two hits for the Cavaliers. Virginia had a rough day defensively, tying a season high with four errors. The errors were extremely costly as they led to six unearned Mississippi State runs.

MSU starter Kendall Graveman picked up the win to improve to 7-5, while UVa starter Brandon Waddell (Fr., Houston, Texas) fell to 6-3 after allowing six runs (three earned), six hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings. UVa used five pitchers - all freshmen - in the contest. Ross Mitchell scattered two hits over 3 2/3 innings of shutout ball to pick up his second save of the season.

The combination of Adam Frazier (6-for-6) and Hunter Renfroe (4-for-5) for Mississippi State went 10-for-11 with six RBI and four runs scored.

The Bulldogs wasted no time manufacturing two runs in the first inning.  Frazier singled to start things off. After Alex Detz walked, Renfroe singled up the middle to score Frazier for the game's first run. Virginia's Brandon Downes (So., South Plainfield, N.J.) mishandled the ball as he tried to field it, allowing Detz and Renfroe to advance to second and third.  UVa starting pitcher Brandon Waddell (Fr., Houston, Texas) handcuffed Brett Pirtle into the first out of the inning, but the ball was hit lightly enough to second base, allowing Detz to score and Renfroe advance to third.  After Wes Rea walked, Waddell struck C.T. Bradford out and forced Demarcus Henderson to hit into a fielder's choice, retiring Rea at second base.

The Cavaliers bounced back with three runs in the home half of the first inning, taking a 3-2 lead.  Mike Papi (So., Tunkhannock, Pa.) led things off with a home run on the second pitch he saw, depositing the 1-0 offering from Mississippi State's starting pitcher Kendall Graveman into the right field stands.  Jared King (Sr., Radford, Va.) followed with a double into the right field corner.  After Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa.) walked, Downes singled to left field to load the bases on a ball that fell between MSU left fielder Henderson and infielders Frazier (SS) and Detz (3B).  Derek Fisher (So., Rexmont, Pa.) chopped a ball toward second allowing King to score to tie the game, 2-2, while McCarthy advanced to third and Downes was out on the play at second base. Reed Gragnani (Sr., Richmond, Va.) singled to left field to score McCarthy and give UVa a 3-2 lead.  MSU hurler Graveman struck out Nick Howard (So., Olney, Md.) and Kenny Towns (So., Burke, Va.) back-to-back to end the threat.

The Bulldogs struck again in the top of the third inning, taking a 4-3 lead. Renfroe led off the frame with a single through the left side.  Pirtle duplicated Renfroe and also singled through the left side to put runners on first and second.  Rea's sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third.  Bradford tried a safety squeeze, but Waddell committed the error coming home when he couldn't hold onto the transfer from his glove, scoring Renfroe to tie the game, 3-3.  Pirtle advanced to third and Bradford reached first on the fielder's choice.  Henderson followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, plating Pirtle and giving Mississippi State back the advantage.

Mississippi State scored another three runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a four-run lead, 7-3.  After Derrick Armstrong was retired on a bunt to Waddell to start the frame, Frazier tripled to the right center field wall.  Waddell hit Detz with a 2-2 offering to put runners on first and third.  UVa head coach Brian O'Connor promptly made his first pitching change of the game, going to the right-handed reliever Josh Sborz (Fr., McLean, Va.). Renfroe tripled to score Frazier and Detz and Pirtle recorded a sacrifice fly to center to score Renfroe, giving MSU a 7-3 lead.

Virginia pushed one run across in the home half of the fourth inning to cut its deficit to three runs, 7-4.  Nick Howard fouled off five pitches before driving a base hit to left field. Howard advanced to second on the play when the left fielder Henderson committed an error fielding the ball. Howard advanced to third on a wild pitch by Graveman and scored on the sacrifice fly to center field by Towns.

The Bulldogs scored again in the top of the fifth inning, pushing one run across to extend their lead back to four runs, 8-4.  Nick Ammirati led off the inning by reaching first and advancing to second on a throwing error by Sborz. Trey Porter pinch hit for Armstrong and grounded out to third base, but Ammirati advanced to third on the play.  Frazier's fourth hit of the game scored Ammirati. Nathan Kirby (Fr., Midlothian, Va.) came on in relief of Sborz and was able to get Virginia out of the inning with no more damage.

Mississippi State used a two-out rally in the top of the sixth inning to score two runs and extend its lead to 10-4. David Rosenberger (Fr., Bethlehem, Pa.) retired the first two hitters he faced and UVa looked poised for its first 1-2-3 inning, but Henderson singled to left field to start the rally. Ammirati singled to right field to put runners on first and second.  MSU loaded the bases via a fielding error by King who couldn't cleanly come up with a batted ball by Porter at first base. Frazier doubled off the first base bag after the carom fell behind the out-stretched dive of King down the right field line.  Ammirati and Henderson scored on the play.

Virginia clawed back with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, cutting its deficit to four runs, 10-6.  Gragnani clubbed a one-out single to right centerfield and advanced to second on Howard's single up the middle.  Towns reached first base to load the bases on an error by Pirtle at second. Nate Irving (So., Yonkers, N.Y.) singled up the middle to score Gragnani. Pirtle's diving play saved an additional run from scoring with Howard held at third, but it was for naught. Ross Mitchell came in relief of the starter Graveman and promptly walked Papi with the bases loaded, scoring Howard.

Mississippi State scored again in the eighth inning on a single by Porter up the middle.