College Baseball April 24, 2012

By School reports

Mississippi State Blanks Golden Eagles 5-0

MSU Media Relations
PEARL, Miss. – For Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen, the good news is there was not much bullpen activity Tuesday night.

Other than, the occasional chasing down home run balls hit into the MSU bullpen.

The Bulldogs threw their third shutout of the season in a 5-0 win over in-state rival Southern Mississippi before a crowd of 4,300 at Trustmark Park. For MSU, it was their fourth straight win over Southern Miss.

MSU supplemented the good pitching with two massive two-run home runs. Snapping a string of five games without a long ball, Mitch Slauter hit a two-run shot in the fourth inning and Hunter Renfroe followed with his own two-run shot in the fifth inning. Slauter’s shot landed in the bullpen, while Renfroe’s went slightly further and barely cleared the MSU work area beyond the left field wall.

“The wind was more favorable tonight,” Cohen said. “Especially compared to our ballpark, this yard is very exciting. It is such a relief to see a ball disappear out of the ballpark off of our bat. When you see that, it makes you feel like things are going your way. It is not just our yard or this yard, home runs are down everywhere.

“However, you feel something good when you see the ball leave the bat and it leaves the yard.”

For the Bulldogs, it was third multi-home run game of the season. MSU has now hit 17 home runs through 41 games. The Maroon and White finished with five total hits; however, the two round-trippers gave MSU more bang for its buck and drove in four total runs.

On the mound, Brandon Woodruff threw four innings, Nick Routt followed in relief with three innings and Ross Mitchell finished the contest with two innings. The duo combined to allow six hits, with eight strikeouts and three walks allowed.

MSU overcame one error, turned one double play and forced Southern Miss to strand nine base runners.

“I settled down after my first inning (of work), pitched down in the zone and got a lot of ground ball outs,” Routt said. “I got some early ground balls. I dropped down to the side and that is what caused that.”

MSU built a 1-0 lead by scoring without a base hit in the third inning. The Bulldogs patched together three walks and a ground ball out for the game’s first score.

In the fourth inning, the lead grew to 3-0 on Slauter’s home run and an inning later to 5-0 on Renfroe’s blast. MSU had more opportunities to blow the contest open but were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position through the first six innings of play.

“I think playing Thursday-Friday-Saturday last week really helped us,” Cohen said. “The kids had a day off on Sunday. We came back and had a great practice on Monday. You could see the sprig in their step. That is real important for what we are trying to do.”

Frazier and Slauter each had multiple hits for the Bulldogs. Frazier has hit safely in 34 of MSU’s 41 games this season.

Kameron Brunty had two of Southern Miss’ six hits. Still, the Golden Eagles were shut out for a second time this season and second straight time by Bulldog pitching.

MSU returns home for a Southeastern Conference series with in-state rival Ole Miss this weekend. The Bulldogs and Rebels meet at 7 p.m. Friday (SportSouth), 2 p.m. Saturday (SportSouth) and 1:30 p.m. Sunday (Comcast Sports Southeast).

Late rally trips up No. 18 Ole Miss in loss to Memphis

Ole Miss Media Relations
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Junior right-hander Tanner Bailey worked a perfect four innings in a predetermined start on Tuesday night, but a late Tiger rally was trouble as No. 18 Ole Miss (27-14) fell to Memphis (18-23) by a score of 4-2 at AutoZone Park.

Bailey retired all 12 batters faced, including four strikeouts, and Ole Miss held a 2-0 lead through 6.5 innings. But, Memphis pushed two runs across in the seventh and two in the eighth to claim the win.

The Rebels had a chance to rally in the ninth, putting men at the corners with one out, but Memphis was able to turn a double play on a ball up the middle that ended the threat of an Ole Miss comeback.

Dylan Chavez (3-3) suffered the loss for Ole Miss in relief, working 1.1 inning and allowing two runs on four hits with two strikeouts as Jacob Wilson hit a two-run home run to left off Chavez in the eighth to give Memphis the lead for the first time in the game.

Michael Wills (3-1) picked up the win as he worked 8.1 innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on nine hits with a walk and three strikeouts.

“You have to play all nine innings and they played better than we did in the last couple of innings,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We have to figure out a way to finish things off. Tanner Bailey was terrific tonight in the start for us. He did what we needed him to do and that was throw strikes, fill up the zone and he did that.”

Neither team could manage anything early in the game, with the Rebels notching a pair of hits in the first inning before Memphis would get out of the inning and then hold Ole Miss off the bases through the next three innings.

Ole Miss scored in the fifth inning when Tanner Mathis came up with an infield single with two outs and the bases loaded to bring home John Gatlin. The ground ball to the left side was saved by the Memphis third baseman, but he threw the ball into the outfield trying to get Auston Bousfield out at second, allowing the Rebels to plate a second run as Blake Newalu went home on the throwing error. The score sat at 2-0 in favor of the Rebels after the top of the fifth.

Memphis got its first hit of the game in the seventh inning as the Tigers put together the first rally of the night. Back-to-back singles opened the frame before Ole Miss would go to the bullpen for left-hander Dylan Chavez in relief of right-hander Aaron Greenwood. Another Tiger single loaded the bases before Chavez would strike out the next two batters.

T.J. Rich then came up with a single up the middle on a full count pitch to drive in two runs and tie the game at two in the seventh. Chavez got the next batter to fly out to end the inning, but the lead was gone with the score tied after seven complete.

The Tigers took the lead in the eighth when Wilson hit his two-run shot to left field. Tucker Tubbs scored on the play after reaching in the previous at bat with a double down the third base line. The Rebels then went to the bullpen for Chris Ellis to replace Chavez.

Ole Miss will return to action this weekend with a three-game series on the road at Mississippi State. The first game of the series is set for a 6:30 p.m. start on Friday and will be televised by SportSouth. All three games in the series will be televised with Saturday’s game also being carried by SportSouth and Sunday’s finale on CSS.