Miss. State Media Relations
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Seven innings of shutout pitching by Chris Stratton helped pace the Mississippi State baseball team to a 3-1 win over Alabama in the opening game of a weekend Southeastern Conference series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Stratton became the first SEC pitcher to win nine games this season, while the Bulldogs won a conference series opener for the sixth time in eight weekends. With the win, MSU improved to 28-17 overall and 11-11 in league play, while Alabama fell to 17-29 and 6-16.
"Obviously, Strat came in and did a phenomenal job tonight for us, but I think the secret is out on him that Friday night in the SEC, they're not going to get to two strikes," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "They're going to take weaker swings and put balls in play, so he's got to be a little more economical with his pitches."
Stratton (9-0) allowed seven hits and, with six strikeouts and no walks. Ross Mitchell, Caleb Reed, Jacob Lindgren and Jonathan Holder combined to pitch the final two innings, with Holder getting the Bulldogs' 53th double play ball of the season for his second save.
"With Jonathan Holder, you talk about a kid that doesn't get sped up," Cohen said. "He is a 19-year-old freshman in the best league in America and he does a phenomenal job. We got to get him a little more opportunities like that. That's exactly what we wanted to do in the ninth."
The Bulldogs built a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Trey Porter reached as a hit batsman. Porter then took second on a wild pitch and moved to third on balk call. A groundball by Daryl Norris brought home the run. Hunter Renfroe followed with a double but was stranded at third base.
An inning later, the Maroon and White ran the lead to 3-0. Tyler Fullerton began things with a double and was followed by Sam Frost, who hit a single. Adam Frazier followed with an RBI-single. Mitch Slauter lined a sacrifice-fly to cap the scoring in that at-bat.
Even on not his best night, that offense would be more than enough for Stratton and friends.
"I really don't feel like I had my best stuff tonight but I had a couple jam shots that got through," said Stratton, who became the 12th Bulldog to record 100 strikeouts in a season. "The key was continuing to compete and get through the game. It's a been there, done that type of deal. I have total confidence in everything that (catcher) Mitch (Slauter) calls."
Alabama broke up the shout in the eighth inning when Ben Moore touched Ross Mitchell for an RBI-single. Reed only needed two pitches to work the Bulldogs out of that jam. An inning later, Holder got a 3-2 pitch double-play ball with runners at first and third to snuff the final threat.
MSU finished with seven hits. Frazier and Fullerton each had multiple hits. For Frazier, it was his 20th multi-hit game of the season.
Alabama finished with 11 hits. Taylor Dugas, Moore and Josh Rosecrans each had multiple hits for the Crimson Tide. Starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull (2-4) was lifted in the sixth inning and took the loss.
The series resumes at 2:05 p.m. Saturday.
Click here for more at Inside Mississippi State Sports Blog with Brad Locke.
LSU 4, Ole Miss 3, 13 innings
OXFORD, Miss. – Designated hitter Grant Dozar’s RBI single in the top of the 13th inning Friday night lifted fourth-ranked LSU to a 4-3 win over No. 24 Ole Miss at Swayze Field.
LSU improved to 37-10 overall and 15-7 in the SEC. The Tigers are tied with South Carolina for first place in the overall league standings, and LSU has a four-game lead over Arkansas in the SEC Western Division. Ole Miss dropped to 30-17 overall and 10-12 in conference play.
The series resumes at 2 p.m. CT Saturday with sophomore right-hander Ryan Eades starting on the mound for LSU. Ole Miss will counter with sophomore right-hander Bobby Wahl.
Dozar was 2-for-5 on the night with a homer and two RBI. His solo blast with two outs in the top of the eighth tied the game at 3-3.
The Tigers finally broke the tie in the top of the 13th when Ole Miss reliever R.J. Hively issued a one-out walk to leftfielder Raph Rhymes, and Rhymes moved to third on a single by first baseman Tyler Moore. Dozar lined a grounded a Hively pitch deep in the hole at shortstop, allowing Rhymes to score the go-ahead run.
Junior right-hander Nick Goody earned his ninth save, pitching around a one-out walk to preserve the win. Junior right-hander Joey Bourgeois (2-2), the fifth of six LSU pitchers, was credited with the win as he pitched a scoreless 12th inning, allowing one hit with two walks and a strikeout.
LSU is now 10-3 this season in SEC games decided by one run. The Tigers improved to 3-1 on the year in extra-inning games.
“This was a tremendous team victory,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I thought our players showed great poise in a very difficult place to play. I’m so happy for Grant Dozar, a senior who means so much to our team. He delivered twice in clutch situations, and our pitching kept us in the game until Grant finally got us the big hit.
Hively (4-4) was charged with the loss, as he allowed two runs on four hits in six innings with two walks and six strikeouts.
LSU grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a solo homer by first baseman Tyler Moore, his third dinger of the season.
The Tigers extended the advantage to 2-0 in the third when shortstop Austin Nola singled, moved to second on rightfielder Mason Katz’s groudout and scored on a single by Rhymes.
Ole Miss narrowed the gap to 2-1 in the sixth on an RBI single by leftfielder Tanner Mathis, and the Rebels took the lead with two runs in the seventh.
First baseman Matt Snyder opened the seventh with a solo homer, his 11th dinger of the year, and centerfielder Austin Bousfield delivered a sacrifice fly.
LSU, however, tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the eighth on Dozar’s homer, his third of the season.
Both starting pitchers turned in effective outings – LSU right-hander Kevin Gausman allowed three runs on six hits in 7.2 innings with no walks and four strikeouts, while Ole Miss right-hander Bobby Wahl limited the Tigers to two runs on seven hits in seven innings with two walks and six strikeouts.