Mississippi State battered Jackrabbit pitching, such as it was, for 17 base hits in the afternoon rout. The Bulldogs (1-1) evened their record ahead of a rematch with Florida Atlantic to begin around 4:25. South Dakota State is 0-2.
In Friday evening’s debut, juco catcher Jack Kruger put on a swinging show as the designated hitter going 3-of-5 with a couple of doubles and two RBI. The junior trumped even that on his second senior college outing. Kruger went 3-of-5 again, and reprised his pair of two-baggers. But these were good for four RBI, and Kruger scored four times to boot swinging second in the order.
Three of his runs were supplied by the Bulldog batting behind him. RF Brent Rooker drove Kruger home in the first, second, and fourth innings for all his three RBI. Rooker finished 2-of-3 with two runs.
3B Gavin Collins had been held out of Friday’s opening game, which would have been the first time for the former catcher to start on the hot corner. The delay didn’t hurt his stroke obviously. Collins was 3-of-4 with a RBI and two runs and another double.
In all, Bulldog batters had seven two-base hits out of their 17 total safeties. That gives them 13 doubles through just two games. For comparison, Mississippi State had 87 doubles in 54 total games last season.
The Jackrabbits were not entirely lifeless on offense themselves. They tallied 13 base hits off a pair of Bulldog pitchers, but never made the contest closer than 5-2 with a pair of runs in the top of their third. Mississippi State more than trumped that brief flurry with a seven-run fourth frame.
LHP Daniel Brown got the start for State and worked 4.2 innings. The junior did accept three Jackrabbit runs on eight hits, with a pair of walks. But he still struck out seven and left with a 13-3 lead in the top of the fifth.
That did cost him a decision though. Because freshman RHP Keegan James used the huge margin to last the remaining 4.1 innings, scattering five hits for the most part with a lone run allowed. James walked one, struck out two, and got the win in his first college outing by rulebook.
South Dakota State send Landon Busch to the hill and left him there three-plus innings. Busch (0-1) absorbed seven hits and four walks for six runs allowed, striking out a pair of Dogs.
Down big early the Jackrabbit coaches didn’t bother using any good arms, assuming they had some, the rest of the way. Austin Kost was allowed to take a beating for 1.0 official inning in which six runs scored on nine hits and three walks. Derringer Huff and Joe Erickson took care of the remaining four innings with a combined four hits but just two runs.