Photo courtesy of Mississippi State athletics
- Story by SportsTalk Mississippi MSU Beat Reporter Brian Hadad
Bulldogs start 2020 with three wins
Mississippi State made it three in a row for opening weekend, bringing in a 5-1 win over Wright State to close out the first series of the year. State got a strong performance from sophomore right-hander Eric Cerantola, who worked around some trouble but pitched four shutout innings, striking out 8. Josh Hatcher and Justin Foscue turned first inning outs into productive ones, netting 2 RBI in the opening frame, and Kamren James continue to impress in his first games at Dudy Noble with a 2 RBI single in the third. The Bulldog bullpen was very effective on Sunday, throwing 5 innings of 2 hit baseball, only giving up the one run in the fifth inning.
Eric Cerantola, Filthy Curveball…and pitching with emotion. 🔨 pic.twitter.com/hzDJsrfPbF
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) February 16, 2020
Cerantola took the hill with everyone wondering if the control issues that plagued him a season ago had been corrected, and after two batters, it appeared they had not. Cerantola was able to work out of jams in the first and third innning, while going 1-2-3 in the second and fourth, escaping with no runs given up and eight strikeouts. Obviously Coach Chris Lemonis will want to avoid that kind of trouble as the season progresses, but Cerantola showed good toughness battling out of those problem situations.
BULLDOGS STRIKE FIRST
Manufacturing some offense 🔨
Six first-inning runs this weekend. pic.twitter.com/rUTvOaBR9Z
— Mississippi State Baseball (@HailStateBB) February 16, 2020
Mississippi State did a good job this weekend of jumping out to early leads, and with such a young group of starters, that felt like a big key. Of course, the top of the order is so potent for the Bulldogs, even without Tanner Allen, who missed Saturday and Sunday’s games after taking a foul ball off his knee on Friday afternoon. If State can keep Ginn, Macleod, and Cerantola pitching with leads this season, they will be a very tough team to beat.
Series swept.#AllForSAMford🐶🐾 pic.twitter.com/npzLAGiC3M
— Samford Baseball (@SamfordBaseball) February 16, 2020
Mississippi State will welcome Samford to Dudy Noble Field on Tuesday for the first midweek encounter of 2020. Coach Lemonis said in postgame he did not have a starting pitcher penciled in for the game. First pitch is set for 4 PM on Tuesday.
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