STRATTON PITCHES MISSISSIPPI STATE TO OPENING WIN
Wildcats Look to Even Series on Friday at 8 p.m. ET at Dudy Noble Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. --
Mississippi State got a strong start from ace Chris Stratton and a
two-run rally in the fourth inning to post a 3-1 series-opening win
over No. 2 Kentucky, on Thursday night in front of 6,146 at Dudy Noble
Kentucky (41-13, 18-10 Southeastern Conference)
battled MSU through the first few innings in a pitching duel, before
the Bulldogs rallied with two runs in the fourth inning. Stratton then
settled in to toss the complete-game shutout to secure the MSU win. The
series-opening defeat puts the Wildcats a half-game behind South
Carolina, who has had its series-opening game with LSU in Columbia,
S.C., rained out, with the teams set to play a doubleheader on Friday.
got seven hits in the game, with Luke Maile cranking two doubles in his
four at bats and J.T. Riddle adding UK’s other two-hit game. UK also
got hits from Brian Adams, Thomas McCarthy and Paul McConkey, with
McConkey getting his first career double.
Taylor Rogers (6-4) suffered the loss, working 5.1 innings, allowing
five hits and three runs, walking two and striking out three. He was
relieved in the sixth inning with a runner on second base and one out
by Walter Wijas, who allowed a two-strike hit in the one right-handed
batter he faced. Sam Mahar then got the call with runners at the
corners and one out, working a total of 2.2 shutout innings, allowing
two hits and one walk, striking out one.
State’s (32-21, 14-14 SEC) starter Stratton (10-1) dominated through
the game, working 6.1 innings, allowing six hits and one run, striking
out eight and tying the MSU single-season strikeout record set by
former MLB star Jeff Brantley. MSU used Ross Mitchell next in relief,
working 2.1 innings, allowing one hit and striking out one. With the
game-tying run at the plate in the ninth, MSU turned to Jonathan
Holder, who got the final out of the game for his fifth save of 2012.
series will resume on Friday at 8 p.m. ET at Dudy Noble Field. The game
will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, available on WLAP
630-AM in Central Kentucky, on WGVN 1580-AM in Louisville and online at
UKathletics.com. The game will also be televised live on Fox Sports
South with Larry Conley and Dave Neal on the call. UK will send junior
southpaw Jerad Grundy (4-2, 3.91 ERA) to the mound to face off with
Mississippi State junior right-hander Kendall Graveman (4-3, 2.69 ERA).
Bulldogs took control of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning,
as Trey Porter was hit by a 2-2 pitch and Trey Slater doubled down the
leftfield line with a 1-2 count. After Brent Brownlee was hit by a
pitch to load the bases, Wes Rea snapped a 1-for-40 stretch with a
two-RBI double down the line.
UK got on the board in the
top of sixth, as Adams singled up the middle on a two-strike count,
stealing second base and taking third on a fly out to centerfield.
Maile then smashed a double off the wall in rightfield to score Adams
and cut the lead to 2-1.
Mississippi State added a run in
the bottom of the sixth inning, as Mitch Slauter singled to rightfield
to leadoff and Brownlee pushed him to second with a sacrifice bunt,
ending Rogers start. UK turned to Wijas, who allowed a two-strike
single through the left side to put runners on the corners. UK called
on Mahar for a left-on-left matchup with Sam Frost. Frost laid down a
perfect bunt single on the chalk down the third base line, allowing
Slauter to score.
GAME NOTES: Paul McConkey smashed his
first double of the year in the third inning, his first career
extra-base hit … Luke Maile doubled for the 11th time of 2012 … The
double was Maile’s 20th two-out hit of the year … Brian Adams stole his
first base of the year … Maile notched a two-out RBI double in the
sixth inning, his 11th double and his 16th two-out RBI … McConkey was
hit by his third pitch … Matt Reida laid down his team-high ninth
sacrifice bunt of the year.