The Virginia baseball team fell to Mississippi State in the opening game of their NCAA Super Regional series on Saturday at Davenport Field. The Bulldogs collected 20 hits on their way to an 11-6 win.
With the win, Mississippi State improves to 47-18 whileVirginia falls to 50-11. The two teams meet again Sunday night at Davenport Field, where first pitch is slated for 7 p.m.
The Bulldogs scored two runs in the opening frame to take the early lead, but the Cavaliers bounced back with three runs in the home half of the first. Lead-off hitter Mike Papi sent a home run into right field, pulling UVa within one run. Then, with the bases loaded, Derek Fisher chopped a ball toward second allowing Jared King to score to tie the game, 2-2. The next batter, Reed Gragnani, singled to left field to score Joe McCarthy and give UVa a 3-2 lead.
The Bulldogs struck again in the top of the third inning, taking a 4-3 lead. C.T. Bradford tried a safety squeeze with runners on second on third, but Brandon Waddell committed the error coming home when he couldn’t hold onto the transfer from his glove, scoring Hunter Renfroe to tie the game, 3-3. Demarcus Henderson followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, plating Brett Pirtle and giving Mississippi State the lead for good.
Mississippi State scored another three runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a four-run lead, 7-3, and the Cavaliers never got closer than three runs for the remainder of the game.
Virginia pushed one run across in the home half of the fourth inning to cut its deficit to three runs, 7-4. In the sixth, Mississippi State used a two-out rally to score two runs and extend its lead to 10-4.
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 Brett Pirtle at second. Nate Irving singled up the middle to score Gragnani, to cut the deficit to four, but that was the final run scored for Virginia.
Waddell falls to 6-3 with the loss, picking up his first setback since May 22 against Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament. The combination of Adam Frazier and Renfroe for Mississippi State went 10-for-11 with six RBI and four runs scored.