MSU Baseball Upsets Kentucky
Miss. – Junior right-handed pitcher Chris Stratton became Mississippi
State’s first 10-game winner in 10 seasons as the Baseball Bulldogs
knocked off No. 2 Kentucky 3-1 in the opening game of a three-game
Southeastern Conference weekend series Thursday night at Dudy Noble
improved to 10-1 with 6.1 innings of six-hit baseball. MSU pitchers
have now recorded 18 quality starts, with nine of those coming from
Stratton. The Tupelo native also became the league’s first 10-game
winner for this season. From an MSU standpoint, Paul Maholm last earned
the distinction, when piecing together a 10-3 campaign in 2002.
the victory, MSU improved to 32-21 overall and 14-14 in league play.
The Bulldogs are presently in a four-way tie for sixth place in the
overall standings and a three-way tie for second place in the Western
Division standings. Former league leader Kentucky fell to 41-13 and
18-10. The Wildcats trail South Carolina by percentage points in the
conference standings. South Carolina was rained out Thursday night
Bulldogs have now matched last season’s conference win total with
Thursday night’s victory. MSU won its series opener seven times during
10 league weekends this season.
is the game we have to win and this is the manner in which we have to
win it – one-run and two-run games with the pitching and defense,” MSU
head coach John Cohen said. “I thought Strat was very, very good but
they did a nice job of covering pitches tonight and shoving them into
struck first with two runs in the fourth inning. Trey Porter began
things when he reached as a one-out hit batsman. Mitch Slauter followed
with a double down the left field line. Brent Brownlee reached as a hit
batsman to load the bases. Wes Rea followed with a two-run single back
through the left side of the infield. Brownlee was put out on the play
but the home folks had given Stratton all the offense he would need.
“For the most part, I thought we took better swings and made them make some plays defensively,” Cohen said.
back from his first league defeat of the season last week at Florida,
Stratton struck out eight and walked none, while giving up only a
sixth-inning run. In relief, Ross Mitchell sparkled again. Mitchell
retired the first seven batters he faced before a two-out single by UK
in the ninth inning. Jonathan Holder needed four pitches for the
game-ending strikeout and his fifth save.
erased the shutout in the sixth inning. Brian Adams started things with
a one-out single. After a lineout, Luke Maile followed with an
RBI-double. Stratton got the strikeout to snuff that threat.
Bulldogs played errorless ball all night and got excellent outfield
play from the trio of Tyler Fullerton, Hunter Renfroe and Brent
the home half of the sixth inning, the Bulldogs plated a critical
insurance score when Sam Frost executed the perfect squeeze bunt,
bringing home Slauter, who began the inning with a hit. Rea also had
his second hit of the contest in that at-bat, while Brownlee also did
his job in the bunting game in that frame.
finished with eight hits, including Rea’s 16th multi-hit game and
Slauter’s ninth multi-hit game. Adam Frazier also had a hit and has
reached safely in 43 of the Maroon and White’s 53 games this season.
think when my swing is where it needs to be, that’s what it’ll look
like,” Rea said. “My swing is back and hopefully I can carry this over
to the rest of the season.”
finished with seven hits. Maile and J.T. Riddle each had two hits for
the Wildcats. Starting pitcher Taylor Rogers (6-4) was lifted in the
sixth inning and took the loss.
as positive as you can be right now,” Stratton said. “With a
series-opening win, they are in a hole and we got a good one in Kendall
Graveman going tomorrow, too. They are a good low-ball hitting team and
they were really going down to get them tonight. This was a big win.”
series resumes with a 7:06 p.m. start Friday. SportSouth will have a
regional telecast. In pregame ceremonies, MSU senior baseball players
Caleb Reed and Brownlee will be honored, as well as managers G.T.
McCullough and Tim Statz.