FINAL: MSU 2, Tennessee 1, 11 inn. (Game 1)

Recapping MSU’s 2-1 win over Tennessee in 11 innings on Thursday at Dudy Noble Field.

The buzz: The Bulldogs (22-16, 6-10 SEC) got another superb outing from pitcher Chris Stratton and finally found some timely offense in the 11th, and they snapped a four-game losing streak. Mitch Slauter, the junior catcher, had the game-winning RBI after squatting behind the plate for 11 innings.

Big inning: In the top of the 11th, C.T. Bradford threw out a runner at the plate to end a Tennessee threat. Then in the bottom half, Trey Porter doubled off the wall in right, Wes Rea reached on a bunt, and Bradford was intetionally walked. Luis Pollorena, normally a pitcher who pinch-ran for Porter, just beat the throw home after Slauter flew out to shallow center field.

Key stats: MSU left nine men on base, Tennessee stranded seven. … UT didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning. … Tennessee’s pitchers issued six walks, MSU’s issued two.

MSU at the plate: Porter had two hits, both doubles. … MSU had six total hits. … Sam Frost had the Bulldogs’ first RBI of the game with a two-out single in the fifth.

Tennessee at the plate: Leaoff man Will Maddox had two hits, including an RBI single in the eighth. … The Vols had five hits.

MSU on the mound: In 9 innings, Stratton allowed one run (earned) on four hits, struck out 10 and walked none, but got a no-decision. … Reliever Caleb Reed (1-5) got the win, allowing no runs on two hits in 2 innings.

Tennessee on the mound: Starter Zack Godley allowed one run on four hits in 7 1/3 innings, striing out five and walking four. … Reliever Drew Steckenrider (4-3) took the loss, giving up one run on one hit, striking out two and walking two in 3 innings.

Bottom line: As the second half of the SEC schedule gets under way, MSU needs to make a move if it wants to be playing in any kind of postseason. The offense is still clearly a weak point, and so continued strong pitching is a must. MSU is now 2-4 in extra-inning games this season, including 1-3 in SEC play.

Quotable: “We talked about it right before the play, and he just said yes, so I said, OK, I’m going to try to run as fast as I can. I was trying to move my little legs, and it worked out.” – Pollorena, on the decision to tag up on Slauter’s sac fly

Video: I’ve got postgame video of Slauter, with a cameo by Hunter Renfroe and a cream pie (CLICK HERE).

Click video to hear audio