By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – On a frigid day at Dudy Noble Field, No. 5 Mississippi State cobbled together just enough offense to back some solid pitching in a 4-1 win over Saint Joseph’s on Saturday afternoon.
It was 38 degrees and overcast when the Bulldogs (13-0) and Hawks (2-6) started the game, and not surprisingly, a pitchers’ duel ensued. It was 1-1 after the first inning and stayed that way until State scratched together a combined three runs in the seventh and eighth.
MSU was playing without several starters in the lineup due to illness and injury, but it pulled ahead 2-1 in the seventh inning when pinch hitter Tyler Fullerton’s popup was mishandled by the second baseman, scoring pinch runner Derrick Armstrong from third base.
Fullerton was credited with a hit and an RBI.
“On a day like today we had to generate (offense) in a different way, and we did,” MSU coach John Cohen said.
MSU added two more runs in the eighth on Demarcus Henderon’s RBI groundout and a wild pitch that scored Alex Detz.
Reliever Ross Mitchell (4-0) tossed three strong innings for MSU, allowing no runs on one hit with three strikeouts.
“These are definitely one of the best days to pitch in, other than the fact you’re cold,” Mitchell said. “But you’re actually doing stuff, so your body heats up better, and the hitters’ hands are cold, so it’s easier to go inside.”
MSU starter Evan Mitchell had command issues early but worked around some trouble, and he wound up with nine strikeouts and five walks, allowing just one run in five innings of work.
Saint Joseph’s starter Jordan Carter (0-1) gave up two runs on six hits in six-plus innings. He retired 10 straight batters at one point, but MSU finally got to him in the seventh, when Mitch Slauter led off with a single.
No. 8 Ole Miss 8, Florida International 3: The Rebels combined an opportunistic offense with a solid outing from starter Mike Mayers to clinch the weekend series.
Mayers (1-0) allowed two runs on six hits with no walks and six strikeouts across 7 innings of work. Jeremy Massie closed out the game with 2 innings of work, allowing one unearned run on two hits with a strikeout.
The Rebels tagged Panthers starter Tyler Alexander (0-1) for six runs – two unearned – on four hits in five innings. Alexander, who struck out three and walked three, entered the weekend having allowed only one unearned run on the season.
“Mike Mayers was terrific tonight,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “All three of his pitches were in the zone and he did a good job handling some good hitters, including Edwin Rios for them. He really gave us a lift with his performance on the mound.”
Tanner Mathis drew a lead-off walk and later scored on a ground ball from Auston Bousfield to take a 1-0 lead in the first.
Will Jamison and Mathis later added RBI singles for the Rebels (10-1), who also scored on three sacrifice flies, a wild pitch and a throwing error.
The series concludes today at 11 a.m.