By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
Recapping No. 5 MSU’s 4-1 win over Saint Joseph’s at Dudy Noble Field on Saturday.
• The buzz: It took a while, but MSU’s bats finally got going late on a bitterly cold day to stay undefeated. The Bulldogs (13-0) scored three runs in the seventh and eighth innings to pull away from the Hawks (2-6), who got a fine pitching performance from starter Jordan Carter.
• Big inning: Mitch Slauter hit a leadoff single in the seventh, and pinch runner Derrick Armstrong scored on Tyler Fullerton‘s RBI single to make it 2-1 State. Fullerton, who was pinch hitting for Jacob Robson, popped it up into shallow right field, and the second baseman couldn’t keep it in his glove. It was ruled a hit.
• Key stats: Saint Joseph’s left 11 runners on base to MSU’s five. … MSU was 2 of 8 with runners in scoring position, while Saint Joe’s was 0 of 9. … Neither team made an error. … MSU hit into two double plays, both by Alex Detz.
• MSU at the plate: C.T. Bradford had three hits and scored a run. … Adam Frazier had two hits and scored the game’s first run. … The Bulldogs had eight hits. … In the eighth, MSU scored two runs – on a groundout and a wild pitch.
• Saint Joseph’s at the plate: The Hawks had five hits. … Anthony Cirillo had two hits. … Saint Joseph’s scored in the first inning when Chris Hueth hit a bases-loaded sac fly.
• MSU on the mound: Starter Evan Mitchell tossed five innings, allowing one run on three hits with a season-high nine strikeouts and five walks on 99 pitches. He had command issues the first three innings but worked out of some jams. … Reliever Ross Mitchell (4-0) got the win with three innings of shutout ball. He allowed one hit, struck out three and walked one. … Closer Jonathan Holder pitched the ninth for his fourth save, but he made it interesting by loading the bases. He induced a 5-4-3 double play to end the game.
• Saint Joseph’s on the mound: Carter went six-plus innings, charged with two runs on six hits with three strikeouts and a walk on 87 pitches. He retired 10 consecutive batters during one stretch. … Three relievers saw action, with Shane Carey giving up the two runs in the eighth.
• Bottom line: On a tough day for hitters, MSU’s offense showed patience and got timely hits. And the pitching, as usual, was strong, with Evan Mitchell able to escape some self-made trouble. The Bulldogs play two tomorrow, with Kendall Graveman and then Will Cox scheduled to start on the mound.
• Quotable: “I thought the MVP of the ballgame was Ross and what he did. He just came in and settled things down and got some weak contact and allowed us to get through those innings.” – MSU coach John Cohen