FINAL: MSU 4, No. 18 Ole Miss 0 (Game 1)

Recapping MSU’s 4-0 win over No. 18 Ole Miss on Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.

The buzz: MSU ace Chris Stratton (8-0) was at his most efficient tonight, throwing just 104 pitches and recording his first career shutout in the series opener. He got some good defensive help, including two double plays and a diving grab by center fielder C.T. Bradford to end the eighth inning. State (26-16, 9-10 SEC) has won five in a row. Ole Miss fell to 27-15 (9-10).

Big inning: MSU got to Ole Miss starter Bobby Wahl in the third inning with a two-out rally. Adam Frazier singled and moved all the way to third on a wild pitch, then came home when Mitch Slauter‘s grounder was mishandled by the shortstop. Slauter then scored on a single by Daryl Norris.

Key stats: Ole Miss committed two errors, leading to three unearned runs. … MSU was 3 of 6 with runners in scoring position, while the Rebels were 0 of 4. … Ole Miss went down in order five times.

MSU at the plate: State had five hits. … Slauter had an RBI single in the fifth, while Brent Brownlee had an RBI double in the seventh. … MSU stranded four runners.

Ole Miss at the plate: Three of the Rebels’ five hits were by second baseman Alex Yarbrough. … Ole Miss left four men on base. … Trey Porter was 1 of 3 and has reached base safely in nine straight games.

MSU on the mound: Stratton went all nine innings, allowing no runs on five hits, striking out seven and walking one. He had 13 groundball outs. … This was the third complete game of the year by an MSU starter.

Ole Miss on the mound: Wahl went six innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on four hits, striking out seven and walking two on 110 pitches. … Reliever Aaron Greenwood worked the last two innings, allowing one unearned run on one hit, with a strikeout and no walks.

Bottom line: The Bulldogs are rolling now, and the offense did much better at manufacturing runs. The defense is becoming more and more of a strength. And when you’ve got Stratton on a Friday night, you feel pretty good about things. MSU is now 5-2 in SEC series openers this year.

Quotable: “I went out there in the ninth, I said, ‘Hey, how much do we have left in the tank?’ And at that point I think he was at 87 or 88. He said, ‘I’m fine,’ like one of my daughters is telling me to leave their room. There was a lot of force in his voice to say, I got this, and that’s the man he’s become.” – MSU coach John Cohen