The Bulldogs matched last season's 2-0 start by clinching the weekend series from the Rams. Saturday's outcome was much different than Friday night's come-from-behind 9-8 MSU victory. The comfort factor Saturday came from Stratton, who sparkled in his Bulldog debut.
"I felt pretty comfortable once the game got started," said Stratton, who was hurling for Tupelo High School last year at this time. "I had a few nerves going until I got the first out. With the way team played behind me today, all I had to do was throw the ball."
Stratton allowed four hits and faced 24 batters in his six innings of work. While tossing 86 pitches, Stratton struck out six batters and walked a pair. Kendall Graveman and C.C. Watson also made their Bulldog debuts as the pitching trio combined on a five-hit shutout.
For M-State pitching, it was their first shutout since a 10-0 win at UAB on April 7 of last year. Ironically, that was the only shutout by the Bulldogs last season.
"We are excited about what our freshmen can do," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "We aren't ready yet but today was a good step forward. The velocity and movement from all three freshmen were great."
While the young pups may be unknowns for the upcoming season, some veteran Bulldogs appear ready to continue their outstanding careers.
Senior first baseman Connor Powers slapped a pair of solo home runs. The team's leading long ball artist a year ago now has seven multi-homer games in the Maroon and White.
Rebels shutout Warhawks in baseball
OXFORD - The Rebel offense exploded while Aaron Barrett and Eric Callender combined to pitch a four hit shutout as No. 17 Ole Miss (1-1) defeated Louisiana-Monroe (1-1) by a score of 14-0 on Saturday to even the weekend series.
The two teams will play the rubber match at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field. Slated to throw for the Rebels is junior Trent Rothlin, while Louisiana-Monroe is expected to send Corey Brown to the mound for the final contest.
Barrett (1-0) picked up the win for the Rebels, allowing only two hits in 6.0 innings of work while striking out seven and walking only one. Callender then picked up the save with 3.0 innings of work as he held the Warhawks to two hits and walked only one while striking out three.
Starter Josh Miller (0-1) took the loss for ULM as he allowed eight runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He also allowed three home runs in the loss as the Rebel offense came alive early.
"Today was a little different than yesterday," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "Yesterday they (ULM) only walked two and we walked five. Today we got double digit hits and only walked two. When you do that and turn a couple of double plays, you have a much better shot at winning.
"Offensively, I like this club. I think we are going to be able to hit for power and score some runs all throughout the line-up. Aaron Barrett has really worked hard in the offseason on his change-up. He kept them off balance. I think last year was tough on Aaron, but he handled it terrifically. We are very proud of him for today."