By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
HOOVER, Ala. – Matthew Britton was hitting .149. Mitch Slauter was 0 for 4 through nine innings. Luis Pollorena had zero career RBIs.
These were not the profiles of clutch players, but all three came up with big swings in Mississippi State’s 4-3, 10-inning win over LSU on Friday in the SEC Tournament.
The big hero was Britton, the redshirt freshman who had the game-winning hit. He entered the game late and had a man on second with one out in the 10th, and the last thing on Britton’s mind was his batting average.
“You can’t think about that when you get up to bat,” he said. “You’ve just got to have confidence in yourself, know that you’re going to get a big hit.”
The man who scored the winning run was Slauter, who was hitless in his four previous at-bats and had been struggling here all week. Slauter smashed a double to center field with one out.
“That’s what it’s all about, is putting at-bats behind you regardless of what happened before,” he said. “It was a rough day, but I put it behind me, and I put a good swing on a ball.”
Then there was Pollorena, who came to MSU as a dual-position player but had moved into a full-time pitching role. He entered the LSU game 0 for 3 at the plate this year, and while he didn’t get a hit Friday, his RBI sac fly in the ninth tied the game at 3-3.
Cohen spoke to Pollorena before the at-bat and told him, “Just don’t get big. Don’t try and do too much. … Just put this in play, take an easy swing, and let it happen.”
It’s this sort of inexplicable play that’s allowed MSU to go 21-12 in games decided by two runs or less. The Bulldogs have won 14 of its last 19 games against SEC foes.
“We get it done when we need to,” Slauter said.