Britton’s blast lifts Bulldogs

Jonathan Holder closed out Mississippi State's win on Friday, giving up one hit over the final 2 2/3 innings. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt)

Jonathan Holder closed out Mississippi State’s win on Friday, giving up one hit over the final 2 2/3 innings. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt)

By Logan Lowery

Daily Journal

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Matthew Britton had homered in Alabama’s Sewell-Thomas Stadium before, as a standout player at Cullman (Ala.) High School.

But Britton’s solo shot to lead off the seventh inning Friday night was more memorable.

With friends and family in attendance, the junior connected on his first collegiate home run in 247 career at bats and was all the offense needed to give No. 20 Mississippi State a 1-0 victory and clinch the series over the 19th-ranked Crimson Tide.

“I was really surprised,” Britton said. “I rounded first thinking he was going to catch it at the warning track. I look up and he was jumping over the fence, but I’ve got to be happy about it. We play at the Dude (Dudy Noble Field) and it’s big. That ball doesn’t go out at the Dude.”

Ross Mitchell and Jonathan Holder combined for a six-hit shutout, the seventh for the Bulldogs this season.

“We kind of just did what we do,” said MSU coach John Cohen. “We pitched, played defense and scored enough. I’m just really proud of our kids for continuing to battle.”

Mitchell improved to 8-4 on the year going 61⁄3 innings allowing five hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts.

“I threw more change-ups than I’ve probably thrown all year tonight,” Mitchell said. “I wanted them to swing at that early and they were putting it in the ground.”

Holder picked up his seventh save, going the final 22⁄3 frames giving up one hit. He fanned five of the nine batters he faced.

“I like it close,” Holder said. “It gets my adrenaline pumping a little bit and I get going. It feels good.”

Pitchers’ duel

The Diamond Dogs and Alabama each had six hits in the contest. Kyle Overstreet paced the Crimson Tide at the plate going 2-for-4 with a pair of singles.

Spencer Turnbull dropped to 5-6 with the loss on the mound as Alabama also fell to 14-14 in the SEC and 33-21 overall.

State improved to 35-19 overall and 18-11 in the league. The Bulldogs could still share an SEC Western Division title with Ole Miss with a win today and a loss by the Rebels.

Mississippi State will go for the sweep at 3 p.m. today on CSS. The Tide will send junior southpaw Justin Kamplain (5-3, 3.29 ERA) to the mound while the Diamond Dogs will choose between right-hander Preston Brown or lefty Lucas Laster.

logan.lowery@journalinc.com