Kendall Graveman, converted last season from starter to reliever, notched his first career save on Tuesday. The Mississippi State product pitched a clean inning in Seattle’s 4-3 win against Baltimore. He has not allowed run in four appearances in 2021. Graveman was sidelined for a time last season after suffering neck spasms caused by a benign tumor. A starter (with 25 career wins) since he arrived in the big leagues in 2014, he was moved to the bullpen when he returned to the team and pitched well in that role. The Mariners re-signed the right-hander in the off-season. … Former State standout Hunter Renfroe smacked his first homer as a member of the Boston Red Sox, a solo shot in the snow at Minnesota on Tuesday. Renfroe is batting .174 in six games for 7-3 Boston. … Anthony Alford needs a hit in a bad way. The ex-Petal High star is 0-for-19 with 15 strikeouts for Pittsburgh. This slump has to be a major concern for the Pirates, who expected Alford to be their regular center fielder. … Ocean Springs’ Garrett Crochet is 0-2 for the Chicago White Sox despite not allowing an earned run in four relief appearances. The hard-throwing left-hander has committed two errors that have led to unearned runs in his losses. … Brandon Woodruff, the MSU alum from Wheeler, has a 2.12 ERA in three starts for Milwaukee but doesn’t have a decision. He checked the Cubs on one run over six innings Tuesday in a game the Brewers lost 3-2. Adding to Woodruff’s frustration: a Ryan Tepera pitch thrown behind him that the big right-hander did not take kindly to. … JaCoby Jones, the former Richton High standout, may have hard time getting back in the regular lineup for Detroit in the wake of the stunning emergence of Akil Baddoo. Jones, the opening day center fielder, is just 3-for-20 in seven games for the 5-6 Tigers; he has made just two starts since April 6. … With Jake Bauers hitting .063 and Yu Chang .235 with zero homers between them, one has to wonder if Cleveland is considering recalling Harrison Central product Bobby Bradley from its alternate camp to play first base. Bradley had a good spring – and he has big-time power.
If either Ole Miss or Mississippi State were looking ahead to this weekend’s main event in Starkville, it did not show on Tuesday. The Rebels, behind Cael Baker’s six RBIs, thumped Austin Peay 13-1 and the Bulldogs, blasting five home runs, dismissed Arkansas State 18-10 in midweek “tuneups” before the huge SEC clash set for Dudy Noble Field. Game 1 of the three-game series is Friday at 6 p.m. SEC Network will televise it. Both teams enter with 8-4 league marks, tied for second in the West, and top 10 national rankings. Kids on sandlots across Mississippi dream of playing in such a series. This weekend, some get that chance. On paper, this is the classic great pitching (State) vs. great hitting (UM) matchup. The Bulldogs are second in the SEC in ERA and tops in punchouts; the Rebels lead in runs and are second in batting. But Ole Miss’ pitching staff has its fair share of pro prospects, and State’s lineup has produced eight or more runs in a game 13 times. Chops are being licked on both sides. Anything can happen in this series – and probably will. … All eyes in the Magnolia State will not be trained on Starkville, however. Surging Southern Miss (21-10, 8-3 C-USA) has a four-game set at nationally ranked Louisiana Tech, which took three of four from the Golden Eagles in Hattiesburg last month. Jackson State, led by Chenar Brown (.379, eight homers, 39 RBIs), is an amazing 15-0 in SWAC play and welcomes rival Alcorn State for a three-game set at Braddy Field.