Early home run doesn’t bother Bulldogs in regional opener
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Will Bednar struck out eight and Luke Hancock drove in three RBIs to help Mississippi State to a victory in the opening game of the NCAA Starkville Regional at Dudy Noble Field.
Number seven national seed Mississippi State ran its winning streak in NCAA Regional games to eight straight games dating back to the 2018 Tallahassee Regional. State has also won six straight home tournament games.
A leadoff home run by Samford (35-23) started the game to stake the visitors to a 1-0 lead. A single run in the first, three in the second and one in the fourth bolstered Mississippi State (41-15) to a 5-1 edge, before two runs in the fifth pulled Samford within two, 5-3. The Diamond Dawgs added one more in the sixth and two in the seventh, before an eighth-inning solo home run by Samford capped the scoring.
Bednar (7-1) did not let the leadoff home run set the tone, as he retired 12 of the next 13 batters to cruise into the fifth inning. In all, the right-hander fanned eight batters in seven innings of work to earn his seventh win of the season to just one loss. He allowed three runs - two earned - on six hits and walked only one batter.
The offense was able to manufacture eight runs on 11 hits and took advantage of the one Samford error. Four Diamond Dawgs produced multi-hit games, led by three-hit games from Rowdey Jordan and Hancock. Tanner Allen and Kellum Clark each chipped in two hits.
For Allen, he produced his 26th multi-hit game of the season and extended his hitting streak to 19 games with the 2-for-4 day. His reached base streak reached 22 games and he added one run scored and one RBI. Hancock produced his 15th multi-RBI game of the year and his
Jordan posted his fourth three-hit game and 18th multi-hit game of the season and scored three runs. The junior now has 20 career hits in NCAA Regional play over his nine games. Kamren James also plated two RBIs in the contest and now has 50 RBIs on the year.
Samford was powered by the longball, with three home runs in the game. All three were solo shots and each of them led of an inning. Max Pinto hit one of those three home runs and drove in two RBIs in the game. Samuel Strickland (5-4) took the loss with six runs – three earned – allowed on eight hits in five innings of work. He walked one and struck out one In his 16th start.
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