By Paul Jones/Special to the Journal
STARKVILLE – Earlier this week, Mississippi State encountered some bad luck against Memphis and lost a game in the final inning due to a catcher’s interference call.
Here on Friday night at Dudy Noble Field, the Bulldogs received a bit of their own fortune. MSU (7-2) plated two runs in the bottom of the ninth via a Connecticut throwing error to capture a 5-4 victory. The Bulldogs entered the seventh inning trailing 4-0 but managed to collect their second walk-off win of the season.
In that ninth inning, freshman Matthew Britton led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Adam Frazier then reached first on the Huskies’ first error of the inning and later stole second base.
With one out, catcher Mitch Slauter hit a slow roller on the infield but Connecticut third baseman Tom Verdi threw wild to home plate and allowed Britton and Frazier to score.
“The little things that nobody really notice and people are gonna talk about the error that happened there,” said MSU head coach John Cohen. “But that throw to first base on the ball Adam (Frazier) hit, he ran a 4.17 and that is really cooking it to first base. That is really pressuring the defense and if he runs a 4.25 or 4.23 he’s gonna get caught there on the tag.
“It’s all those little things.”
It was actually Verdi that staked the Huskies (4-5) to an early 3-0 lead with his three-run home run off MSU reliever Chris Stratton. However, Stratton settled down after a rough start and picked up the win to move to 3-0 on the year. The Tupelo native relieved MSU starter Ben Bracewell in the fourth inning and said his goal is to keep MSU closer Caleb Reed on the bench.
“Well, I guess (Reed) was about to come in but my goal is to not let him have to come in the game,” said Stratton, who had a season-high nine strikeouts. “(Bracewell) is battling his tail off and doing all he can and I’m just there to help him anyway I can.”
Mississippi State cut the lead to 4-1 with a run in the seventh inning and then got within one run thanks to Trey Porter’s two-run home run in the eighth inning.
MSU will play a pair of games today, facing Lipscomb at 11 a.m. and then the Huskies again at 2:30 p.m.
Miami, Ohio, 9, Ole Miss 8: The No. 16 Rebels made four errors in losing the series opener to the RedHawks. Ole Miss starter Bobby Wahl gave up eight hits and seven runs (three earned) in five innings.
Alex Yarbrough went 2 for 3 and drove in three runs in the loss.