david dunlavey quinnipiac

Mississippi State graduate pitcher David Dunlavey threw three perfect innings of relief to earn the win on Sunday. 

STARKVILLE No. 18 Mississippi State needed some positive momentum heading into a challenging week ahead.

The Diamond Dogs gained some of their confidence back following a three-game sweep of Quinnipiac, capped off by an 8-4 win on Sunday and will now face a five-game stretch against two top 15 opponents that each reached the College World Series last season.

“It’s a lot better to win than lose,” said MSU coach Chris Lemonis. “I know that sounds simple but it just lets you wake up in a good mood. We’re getting on a bus traveling going to play a big opponent, I just think it puts a good taste in your mouth.”

MSU (10-4) left immediately following the Quinnipiac series to travel to Biloxi where it will host fifth-ranked Texas Tech on Tuesday and Wednesday before beginning SEC play back at home against No. 13 Arkansas on Friday.

The Bulldogs bashed 11 hits during Sunday’s win led by Josh Hatcher’s 3 for 5 showing that included a triple. Jordan Westburg was 2 for 4 with a double and drove in three while Rowdey Jordan was 2 for 5 with an RBI.

Kamren James got the game going with a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the first inning and fellow freshman Logan Tanner led off the fourth with his second homer of the season.

“On offense, I felt like we were back to our normal selves a little bit, just grinding the pitchers out and putting together good at bats,” Westburg said. “We were hitting balls hard all day long. It was very good for us to come out and get a sweep this weekend, especially going into a tough week.”

Oh, what a relief

Eric Cerantola got the start on Sunday but found trouble in the fourth, giving up three runs. David Dunlavey (2-1) came out of the bullpen to settle things down for State and tossed three perfect innings of relief with three strikeouts to earn the win.

“I knew the game was in balance right there and it could’ve gone either way,” Dunlavey said. “I went out there and pounded the zone. We’d given them a lot of stuff this weekend but I made them take it from us that time.”

The Bobcats (1-11) had six hits on the day but also committed four errors that led to two unearned runs.

logan.lowery@journalinc.com

Twitter: @loganlowery

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