FINAL: Samford 5, MSU 0 (NCAA Regional, w/Video)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | Recapping MSU’s 5-0 loss to Samford in the NCAA regional opener at Dick Howser Stadium on Friday.

The buzz: Samford coach Casey Dunn said yesterday that his team wanted to face Chris Stratton, the MSU junior pitcher and likely first-round draft pick. The blue-clad Bulldogs not only got Stratton, they hit three home runs off of him (four for the game). It’s the most homers Stratton has given up in a single game in his career. Meanwhile, MSU’s offense was anemic, and so one home run would have been enough for Samford (40-21). MSU (39-23), the SEC Tournament champion, rode in here on a hot streak but now faces elimination.

Big inning: It was a 1-0 game after Brandon Miller‘s second-inning home run, but Samford blew it open in the eighth with four runs, all off homers. Saxon Butler hit a solo shot, then C.K. Irby launched a two-run job over the center field wall to chase Stratton. For good measure, Christiaan Durdaller smoked a solo homer over the left field wall.

Key stats: Samford’s four home runs were the most given up by MSU since last year’s Gainesville Super Regional (Game 3). … MSU left eight men on base, as did Samford. … MSU committed three errors, but all Samford’s runs were earned.

MSU at the plate: The Bulldogs had five hits. … Mitch Slauter had a pair of infield singles. … Adam Frazier‘s eighth-inning single extended his hitting streak to 13 games. … MSU stranded three runners in the second inning.

Samford at the plate: Samford had seven hits. … Irby was 3 of 4 with the two RBIs.

MSU on the mound: Stratton (11-2) gave up four runs (all earned) on six hits in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked four on 119 pitches. … Reliever Caleb Reed gave up the last homer, a solo job, and that was the only hit he allowed in one inning of work. … Chad Girodo recorded the final out of the ninth.

Samford on the mound: Starter Charles Basford (10-2) went eight-plus innings, allowing no runs on five hits, with four strikeouts and four walks. … Irby, the closer, retired all three batters he faced, but it was not a save situation.

Bottom line: Stratton really wasn’t on his game all day, leaving pitches up – he had 12 flyball or popup outs. Samford, which entered the game ranked sixth in the country in home runs, showed it has some legitimate offensive firepower. This is a smaller stadium than Dudy Noble Field, but the home runs were well struck. As for State, well, the offense continues to fail its pitchers. The Bulldogs will play UAB, a 2-1 loser to Florida State, at noon Eastern (11 a.m. Central) tomorrow.

Quotable: “He’s got good pitches, that’s for sure. We just managed to hit his mistakes.” – Miller, on Stratton

Video: For MSU coach John Cohen, Slauter and Stratton in the postgame press conference, CLICK HERE