By MSU Media Relations
BATON ROUGE, La. – Mississippi State junior right-hander Chris Stratton struck out 17 but the Bulldogs could hold a lead late as LSU rallied for a 3-2, 10-inning Southeastern Conference baseball victory Friday night at Alex Box Stadium.
In his first start of the season, Stratton allowed four hits in 8.2 innings of work. The Tupelo native left the contest in a 1-1 tie. After Mitch Slauter hit a solo home run (his first) in the top half of the 10th inning, the Bulldogs were poised to win. Instead, LSU rallied to hand MSU its fourth one-run defeat of the season.
No. 10 LSU improved to 15-3 overall and 1-0 in league play, while No. 21 MSU fell to 14-6 and 0-1.
“The neat thing for Chris is that we are so happy for him,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “He fought his rear end off. He was surrounded by a bunch of guys who haven’t been in this position before. If you add up our nine starters tonight, we had 17 games of conference experience on the field.
“We out-competed LSU. We out-worked LSU. We just had some things not go our way at the end.”
Stratton recorded the most strikeouts for a Bulldog pitcher since B.J. Wallace recorded 19 in a regional tournament game in 1992.
LSU struck first with a single run in the opening inning. After a leadoff walk to Chris Sciambra, Grant Dozar followed with an RBI-double. Stratton would overcome the shaky start and after a fourth-inning single retire 16 Tigers in a row.
The Bulldogs answered in the second inning when Hunter Renfroe doubled and later scored on an RBI-single by true freshman Tyler Fullerton. Fullerton now has six hits in his first three starts with the Bulldogs.
“Tyler is an amazing story,” Cohen said. “We pulled him from a spring break trip so that he could join the ballclub. That is where we are right now. We are missing some pieces (due to injury). We have all the right people in our program, but we need them healthy in our dugout.
“The one thing this team is going to continue to do is compete. They are going to play hard and lay it on the line every night. That is why you enjoying coming to the ballpark and coaching these kids. No one will ever question the amount of effort we are giving to try to get this done.”
LSU starter Kevin Gausman also dominated. Gausman allowed four hits and one run (earned), with 11 strikeouts. Nick Goody (1-0) was touched for Slauter’s home run but got the win.
The Bulldogs finished with five hits, including a multi-hit night from Renfroe. Demarcus Henderson was hitless, as his hit streak ended at 10 games.
LSU finished with seven hits, including three in the 10th inning. Another RBI-double by Dozar tied the contest. JaCoby Jones had a one-out RBI-single with the bases loaded for the game-winner. Jones was the lone multi-hitter for the victors.
The series resumes at 6 p.m. Saturday. Comcast Sports Southeast will have the regional telecast.