STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State’s offense drove in five runs with two outs in the third inning en route to a 7-2 series-clinching win versus Western Carolina Sunday afternoon at Dudy Field. The crowd of 8,061 in Starkville witnessed John Cohen’s 500th victory as a head coach (500-328-1) and his 179th as the skipper for the Maroon and White (177-132).
Deadlocked in a scoreless tie with two outs in the bottom of the third, preseason All-SEC first baseman Wes Rea was plunked with the bases loaded, giving the home team an early 1-0 lead. Next, senior second baseman Brett Pirtle drilled a bases-clearing triple down the right-field line, extending the margin to four. Fellow senior C.T. Bradford added the final run of the frame one at-bat later when the center fielder squeeze bunted for a single, driving in Pirtle.
Western Carolina scored its first run of the game on a Jacob Hoyle solo home run in the fourth and plated its final run of the weekend on a Bradley Strong RBI single to center in the ninth.
The first true freshman to start on the opening weekend since Chris Stratton in 2010, Dakota Hudson earned a no decision in his collegiate debut. The righty went 4.0 innings, surrendering one run on four hits and striking out two with no walks. The freshman combo of right-hander Austin Sexton and lefty Vance Tatum also made their collegiate debuts, blanking the Catamounts in 2 1/3 innings. Senior right-hander Ben Bracewell picked up the win after recording 1.1 scoreless stanzas in relief.
The Bulldogs return to action this Wednesday at home vs. Memphis. For more information on the event, follow the team on social media by searching for “HailStateBB” on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. All-Access coverage of the program can also be found on FanCred.