COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mississippi State worked a few extra hours on the holiday weekend on the way to its first SEC sweep of the season.
Winning its second extra-inning contest of the weekend, the Bulldogs used a two-RBI single by Reid Humphreys in the top of the 11th inning to get past Missouri 9-7 on Sunday afternoon.
The 24th-ranked Bulldogs (26-15, 10-8 SEC) moved into a share of third place with Ole Miss in the SEC’s Western Division and are just two games back in the overall conference race.
“We fought our tails off,” MSU coach John Cohen said. “Down four runs late and the kids just found a way. We had some quality at-bats and the pitchers did their job. We just really competed and played hard the entire series.”
MSU, which improved to 4-0 in extra-inning games, has now won four of six conference series.
A weary bullpen got a huge lift from senior right-hander Ben Bracewell (3-3). In what matched his second-longest outing of the year, Bracewell threw six innings, allowing five hits and one run, with seven strikeouts and two walks. Jacob Lindgren got the final out for his third save.
“We just asked Ben to go out there and throw up some zeroes,” Cohen said, “We wanted him to give our offense a chance and he was magnificent.”
Junior right-hander Brandon Woodruff, from Wheeler, drew the start and battled for 41⁄3 innings. He allowed seven hits and five earned runs, with two strikeouts and two walks.
Missouri (17-21, 6-12 SEC) was out-hit 15-13 on Sunday.
“We really needed something good to happen,” Cohen said. “I would be distraught to be in the other dugout and to lose two 11-inning games. In this league, it comes down to the little things.”
Back and forth
MSU grabbed the early 1-0 lead on Brett Pirtle’s first home run of the season and led 3-2 before Missouri chased Woodruff with a four-run fifth inning.
Trailing 7-3 headed to the seventh, the Bulldogs rallied on RBIhits from Seth Heck and Demarcus Henderson and C.T. Bradford’s game-tying two-run single after Brett Pirtle (3 for 6) singled and Heck reached base on one of two Missouri errors.
“Everybody kept battling the whole game,” Cohen said.
MSU remains on the road for Tuesday night’s Governor’s Cup matchup with Ole Miss. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. at Trustmark Park in Pearl. SEC play resumes next weekend when Texas A&M visits Dudy Noble Field.