High-powered Virginia lineup on deck for Mississippi State Baseball

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Dakota Jordan’s slump-busting, walk-off, 3-run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted Mississippi State baseball over St. John’s and into the winner’s bracket of the Charlottesville regional Friday night. Now, the Diamond Dawgs will take on regional host and #12 national seed Virginia, one of the best offensive teams in the country.

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Though the Cavaliers are most know for electric offense, it was their pitching that led the way in their 4-2 regional opening win over Penn. They held the Quakers to just two runs on four hits while striking out 11 and using just two pitchers. Second-baseman Henry Godbout hit a 3-run homer in the 2nd, and the Hoos would tack on an insurance run in the 7th.

MSU saw some high-powered lineups in SEC play this year, and Virginia is just as good as those if not better. Their team average of .339 is second nationally, and they’re third in runs per game at 9.6. Their entire starting lineup is batting at least .300. Eight players have at least 40 RBI, and four have at least 13 home runs.

Left-fielder Harrison Didawick leads the team with 23 homers and 67 RBI. Center-fielder Bobby Whalen is batting .395, and catcher Jacob Ference is slugging at .750. The Hoos can mash, and while Penn limited their offense on Friday, MSU’s Jurrangelo Cijntje will need an elite outing to keep them at bay.

UVA HC Brian O’Conner chose to hold his ace, Evan Blanco, against Penn, assuming they could get to the winner’s bracket without him. That decision paid off, and now they’ll start their best arm against MSU.

Blanco is 7-3 on the year with a 3.50 ERA with a 79/24 K/BB ratio. The lefty’s been the lone sure-starter for the Cavs this year, and he was fantastic in his last two outings. Nearly all of UVA’s bullpen will be available on Saturday, including Dean Kampschror (3.48 ERA) and Angelo Tonas (3.97 ERA).

Inconsistency at the plate was the biggest issue for Mississippi State in the regular season, and that’s held true in the postseason. It’s taken final inning heroics from Connor Hujsak and Dakota Jordan to drag State to wins in low-scoring affairs.

They can’t count on that against Virginia. While there’s all the reason to be confident in Jurrangelo Cijntje to give State a great outing, and UVA’s lineup was mostly quiet against Penn, the Cavs have been too good offensively this year to just assume they won’t find some success at the plate Saturday night.

MSU’s own lineup is going to need a good game if they want to move to 2-0 in Charlottesville. Hopefully, Dakota Jordan’s walk-off sparked something for this team going forward.

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Publish date : 2024-06-01 11:59:26

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Author : usa-news

Publish date : 2024-06-01 20:19:14

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