"He came out and was throwing hard," said MSU starting catcher Craig Tatum. "His two-seamer was real good tonight. He was spotting it well. He dominated them with his two-seamer and he always has a good slider. It was good seeing him come out and pitch like that. That is good for us going into the (SEC) tournament."
His outing was a welcome relief for a Mississippi State staff that was depleted after having to use 6 pitchers in the 15-inning marathon that MSU and Georgia played this past Sunday in Athens, Georgia.
"Coach Rock told me Thursday before they left that I was going to start today," said Blakeney. "He told me that he was probably going to need me to go deep into the game. They used a lot of pitchers in Georgia, so I just wanted to come out and give them a rest."
Blakeney's outing was made much easier due to a 16-hit offensive showing by the Mississippi State hitters and a school record-tying 5 double play day by the Bulldog defense.
SELA's starting pitcher, Brad Fontenot, didn't have the same success. MSU jumped on him early with a two-run first inning and a six-run second.
MSU shortstop Matthew Maniscalco started the first inning off with a double. Steve Gendron, after Jeff Butts moved Manny over with a fly out to the outfield, knocked Manny in with a sacrifice fly to right field. After Matthew Brinson lined a double to left center, Robby Goodson knocked him in with a single through the right side of the infield for the final run of the inning.
SELA came right back in the top of the second to tie the game. Blakeney, after allowing a one-out single to Lenny Mayard, looked like he would get out of the inning with no trouble after Joey Duhe grounded out for the second out of the inning. On a 3-2 count, Justin Casas singled to right field, knocking in Mayard. The next batter, Graham Marin, doubled down the left field line knocking in Casas, which finished the scoring in the inning.
"I hit my spots, but they put the bat on the ball and found some holes" said Blakeney when explaining what happened in the second. "I tried to throw strikes and they got a couple of hits."
In the bottom of the second, the Bulldogs put the game out of reach by putting a six-spot on the scoreboard. Jon Mungle led off the inning with a single. After Maniscalco reached on an error, Butts hit a double that knocked in Mungle and Maniscalco. Gendron then knocked Butts in with single to left center. With two outs and a new pitcher on the mound, Chad Pendarvis, Craig Tatum singled, putting two on. Robby Goodson, who was 5-for-12 with 3 RBI against Georgia this past weekend, continued his hot hitting with a triple to right center, knocking in Gendron and Tatum. The last run of the inning was scored when Brad Corley legged out an infield hit which allowed Goodson to cross the plate.
After two, MSU led 8-2.
Mississippi State tacked on another run in the bottom of the third when Butts doubled, his second of the game, to left center and Gendron singled him in.
Meanwhile, Blakeney, after the shaky second, settled down and retired the side in order in the third and fourth. In the fifth, sixth, seventh and eight, the Bulldog defense helped Blakeney out with a double play in each inning.
"That was nice because I walked a couple of guys," said Blakeney of the rally-stopping double plays. "To get double plays behind you helps out a lot, especially with pitch counts and things like that."
While the Bulldog defense was helping Blakeney out in the field, the Bulldog offense continued it onslaught against the SELA pitching.
Gendron started the sixth inning off with a single and advanced to second on an error by the right-fielder. Brinson singled, knocking in Gendron. Tatum, the next batter up, hit a double, moving Brinson to third. Goodson, with 3 RBI already to his credit, hit a sacrifice fly, knocking in Brinson. Tatum advance to third on the play. Corley, the next batter up, legged out an infield hit, knocking in Tatum for the 3rd run of the inning.
In the seventh inning, MSU's Thomas Berkery hit a solo home run, his 5th homer of the year, to finished the scoring for the game.
Redshirt freshman left-hander Jacob Ociesa finished the game for the Bulldogs, allowing one run on 2 walks and a hit. He also struck out two.
MSU was led at the plate by Steve Gendron (3-for-3, 3 RBI), Robby Goodson (3-for-3, 4 RBI), Jeff Butts (2-for-4, 2 RBI), Matthew Brinson (2-for-4, 1 RBI) and Craig Tatum (2-for-3).
MISSISSIPPI STATE 13, SOUTHEASTERN LOUSIANA 2
SEL 020 000 000 --- 2-8-3
MSU 261 003 10x --- 13-16-0
WP --- Jacob Blakeney (3-0). LP --- Beau Fontenot. HR --- Thomas Berkery (5). T --- 2:10.
Jacob Blakeney, Jacob Ociesa (9) and Craig Tatum and Thomas Berkery (9). Beau Fontenot, Chad Pendarvis (2), Brad Pitarro (7), Joey Duhe (8) and Justin Casas.
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.