Bulldogs rally past Michigan State

C.T. Bradford was 4 for 4 at the plate on Friday night.  (AP Photo/John Amis)

C.T. Bradford was 4 for 4 at the plate on Friday night. (AP Photo/John Amis)

STARKVILLE – Mississippi State’s Daniel Garner waited through an hour and 12 minute rain delay and nearly eight innings before his number was called.

The redshirt freshman pinch hit with runners at first and second with and outs in the bottom of the eighth inning with the Bulldogs locked in a 2-2 tie with Michigan State.  Garner connected on a 1-1 fastball lashing a single into left pushing across the go-ahead run.

Mississippi State would add another insurance run in the inning to complete the comeback victory over the Spartans 4-2 Friday night in the Diamond Classic.

“Michigan State’s a great club and this was a great win for us tonight,” Garner said. “We needed to get going and start the weekend off right. We’re trying to get four wins this weekend and this is a good start for us.”

The Diamond Dogs scored three runs in their final at bat to improve to 7-4 on the season.

Mississippi State finished with eight hits including a perfect 4 for 4 performance from centerfielder C.T. Bradford, who lashed out four singles.

“He’s swinging it well there’s no doubt,” Bulldogs skipper John Cohen said of Bradford. “He’s worked so hard on his swing. He’s changed it and revamped it a little bit. I love where he is offensively.”

Second baseman Brett Pirtle was 2 for 4 with a pair of singles extending his hitting streak to 11-games.

Ross Mitchell picked up his first decision of the year for Mississippi State. Mitchell tossed  6 2/3 shutout innings of relief allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out three.

“Obviously we’re real happy with what Ross did tonight,” Cohen said. “He came in and did what he did last year. He came in from behind and just led us into a victory. I think our kids believe whenever he’s on the mound we’ve got a chance to win every ball game and that’s why he’s so valuable.”

Brandon Woodruff had another shaky start for the Diamond Dogs. The Wheeler native gave up two runs on three hits in 2 1/3 innings while walking three and fanning three.

“Woody’s so close to making a big jump for us,” Cohen said. “We’re going to keep throwing him out there. He’s got a big time arm and really competes hard. I just feel like if we get to some good weather it’s going to make a difference for him.”

Michigan State (4-4) had five hits led by designated hitter Blaise Salter, who went 2 for 3 at the dish. Salter’s two-run double in the third inning was responsible for all of the Spartans runs.

Cam Vieaux was saddled with the loss in relief surrendering two unearned runs on four hits in an inning of work falling to 0-1.

Michigan State starter Mick VanVossen took a no decision pitching seven solid innings. VanVossen gave up an earned run on four hits with seven strikeouts and four walks.

It was the Spartans second loss of the day also losing to Eastern Illinois 10-5 in 10-innings in the early game on Friday.

The Diamond Dogs will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. against Eastern Illinois followed by a 4:30 p.m. rematch against the Spartans.

Mississippi State will start junior right-hander Trevor Fitts (2-0, 2.31 ERA, 16 K, 3 BB) in Game 1 countered by sophomore right-hander Jake Johansmeier (1-1, 5.23 ERA, 5 K, 4 BB) of the Panthers. Michigan State will send sophomore southpaw Anthony Misiewicz (0-1, 5.68 ERA, 3 K, 5 BB) to the mound in Game 2 while the Bulldogs have not announced a starting pitcher.

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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