“I had some tightness in my forearm early in the game,” Mississippi State’s starter said. “But I think that was just from sitting after I threw in the bullpen.”
Well. If that was a tightened-up right arm…the visiting Sycamores can be glad they didn’t see Plumlee at his loosest. Not after his 8.0 shutout innings in a 9-1 victory.
The evening win completed a good Bulldog Saturday, coming after a 12-4 afternoon final over Marist. Mississippi State’s third win of the weekend means a 6-2 record going into a Sunday rematch with Marist at 1:00. Indiana State (2-4) will face the Red Foxes in a mid-morning matchup.
Plumlee (2-0) will be watching around his other day-after duties. The redshirt sophomore scored his second Saturday success and in more impressive fashion than the first. He scattered just three hits over the eight turns with a couple of walks, and struck out five. Plumlee didn’t have more than a single Sycamore reach base in any of his frames and obviously none came close to home plate again.
So much then for a tight arm, which Plumlee said “I got it shaken out” after a few innings of mixing up his stuff.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be able to beat this team with mainly fastballs. So I had to make sure in incorporated the breaking ball early in the game, let them know I had it. And later on in the game in incorporated the changeup and that was big for me.”
So was working with a lead. The Bulldog offense got him one quickly. CF Jake Mangum delivered a trademark leadoff-single, followed by base hits from 3B Luke Alexander and SS Ryan Gridley to push the first runner across. 2B Cody Brown made it 2-0 with a fly ball playing Alexander.
So from there, ““It takes a lot of weight off your shoulders,” Plumlee said. “You know you can attack hitters.”
ISU starter R. Keaffaber (0-1) kept it a two-run deficit two outs into to the third when the red-hot Gridley came back up. State’s shortstop was keeping plate-pace with slugging star RF Brent Rooker in the first two wins, he just didn’t have a longball to his credit. Or not until Keaffaber served up a nice fat one.
“I was thinking about him throwing a fastball. And I really wasn’t trying to put it anywhere, just swing hard. And somehow it just put it the right way. The wind is blowing pretty well out there so I’m not going to take any credit for that!”
Never mind, Gridley earned credit with his longball. An inning later Brown went out himself, but this was a three-run blast. It also came after Alexander had driven-in Mangum.
Keaffaber was finished after 5.0 having been tagged for the seven runs on ten hits with a couple of walks against six strikeouts. The rest of the Dog damage came at the expense of M. McIntyre who entered for the sixth and didn’t record an out.
He did record a leadoff triple from LF Brant Blaylock and RBI-single by Mangum before T.Whitbread could be rushed in. Gridley was able to make it 9-0 with his fourth hit and third RBI of the evening.
All the while Plumlee plugged along until ending the eighth on his 91st pitch. “I was just trying to keep my head down and keep rolling. I didn’t have a problem dishing it off.” To RHP Denver McQuary so the rookie could get a little work. Indiana State was able to scratch out their only run after new catcher M.Wright singled in leadoff and eventually came home on a ground-out.
Gridley led the hitting parade with his 4-of-5 show while Alexander was 3-of-5 and both Mangum and Brown notched two hits. The Bulldogs beat-up on Sycamore staffers for 14 safeties, five of them for extra bases. Still they knew who was lead Dog in the victory.
“Peyton was unbelievable,” said Gridley, himself 11-of-13 in the three games so far. “It’s really good when you have a doubleheader to have a guy throw a lot of strikes. Then we’re not on our feet as much and we can relax in the dugout.”
The Bulldogs can relax a little in the morning while Marist (3-2) uses some arms against Indiana State. Then RHP Ryan Cyr (0-0) tries for his first season decision in the 1:00 start.
Fans are reminded that Sunday is also basketball day across the street. In Humphrey Coliseum the #3-ranked Lady Bulldogs are hosting Tennessee at 4:00 with at least a share of the SEC Championship at stake.