Mississippi State Wins SEC Tournament
Ala. – For this weekend’s Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament,
the league’s motto was the “Road Begins in Hoover.”
People quickly found out that road was paved with maroon bricks.
team hotter than the weather, 21st-ranked Mississippi State shut out
Vanderbilt 3-0 Sunday afternoon to claim the school’s seventh
conference tournament championship before a Maroon-dominated 12,526
cowbell-clanging fans at Regions Park.
six afternoon games in the tournament’s new 10-team format, MSU won
five tournament games for the first time. The Bulldogs won the
tournament title for a fourth time in this stadium and by shut out for
the first time. MSU’s tournament title was the first since a 4-1 win
over Ole Miss to grab the 2005 championship.
can not tell you what Bulldog nation meant to these players today,”
said MSU head coach John Cohen, who became the first person to ever win
the SEC tournament as both a player and coach. Cohen played on
championship teams at MSU in 1987 and 1990. “It was an incredible
effort by a great group of kids. They did what they have done all year.
They keep battling. They battle every at-bat, every inning, every game.”
will learn its postseason destination at 11 a.m. Monday when the entire
64-team NCAA regional tournament field is announced on ESPNU.
afternoon, the Bulldogs (39-22) threw their sixth shutout in similar
fashion to many others throughout the year. Four different MSU pitchers
stepped up and made critical pitch after critical pitch to keep the
opponents handcuffed and frustrated.
Ross Mitchell (2-0) earned the win with a career-best five innings of
work, in relief of starter Brandon Woodruff. In the ninth inning, Caleb
Reed entered and got the Bulldogs’ 68th double play ball of the season,
before Chris Stratton recorded the final out for his first career save.
really believe in one another,” Mitchell said. “This is an incredible
feeling right now. This is what being a team is all about. This is what
being a champion is all about. My job was simply to go out there, throw
strikes, hoping to give our team a chance.”
pitching quartet held Vanderbilt to six hits, while striking out five
and walking four. Vanderbilt (33-26) stranded 10 base runners and
failed to get the timely hit on numerous occasions.
the tournament, a total of 11 different MSU hurlers saw mound time. The
Bulldogs posted a 1.96 earned run average by allowing 47 hits and 12
earned runs in 55 innings of work. Pace by four appearances from Reed,
Mitchell and Holder, the Bulldogs struck out 41 and walked 16 in the
of 16 of their last 21 against conference opposition, MSU scored a
single run in the third inning and expanded the lead with two scores in
the fourth inning.
kids always believed,” Cohen said. “It is a great group of kids. They
bought in from what we were doing on day one. You can win championships
when you have the right kids in the dugout. I will go into battle with
this group of players any time. They know the mind-set and mental
toughness you have to have to win a championship.”
the MSU third inning, tournament MVP Adam Frazier started things with a
one-out single. After a groundout by Brent Brownlee, a walk to Trey
Porter and infield single by Hunter Renfroe loaded the bases. A wild
pitch brought Frazier home with the game’s first run.
the MSU fourth inning, Mitch Slauter started things with a leadoff
single. After a lineout and walk to Sam Frost, Daryl Norris reached as
a hit batsman to load the bases. A bases-loaded walk to Frazier scored
one run, while a sacrifice-fly by Brownlee scored the other.
the tournament, Frazier finished with 12 hits in 23 at-bats. The 12
hits ranks fourth all-time in SEC tournament history, as the slugging
Bulldog sophomore missed matching the all-time tournament mark by two
hits. Frazier was joined on the all-tournament team by Demarcus
Henderson and Jonathan Holder.
am so proud of this team,” Frazier said. “A lot of people counted us
out earlier in the year, but we never quit believing. This is where
hard work pays off. Even though they were not regulars, a lot of guys
were here for the super regional run last season. They know what it is
to like to play in great atmospheres and compete for championships.”
The Bulldogs finished with seven hits, including multi-hit games by Hunter Renfroe and Mitch Slauter.
VU pitcher Tyler Beede (1-5) was lifted with one out in the fourth
inning and took the loss. Seeing a nine-game win streak snapped, the
Commodores had no multiple hittters.