Bulldogs continue magical run Mississippi State will play Vanderbilt for SEC championship today

Published 11:58 pm Saturday, May 26, 2012

Four Mississippi State pitchers combined to hold Kentucky to one run, as the Bulldogs beat the Wildcats 2-1 on Saturday to advance to today’s SEC Baseball Tournament championship game.

MSU (38-22) will face Vanderbilt (33-25) in today’s title matchup.

The NCAA will announce its regional host sites prior to today’s championship game. While the Bulldogs are not expected to host, they should be highly-seeded when the full 64-team regional tournament field is announced at 11 a.m. Monday on ESPNU.

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“It is all about determination,” MSU coach John Cohen said. “These kids come to the ballpark every day expecting to win. Yes, we have played five games in five days against some of the best teams in the nation. We have played in the heat of the day, but none of that matters to this bunch.

“The goal is simple — find a way to a win a ballgame.”

MSU has now four conference tournament games five times. The Bulldogs will be back in the title match for the first time since besting Ole Miss 4-1 in the 2005 championship game.

MSU played the bunting game to perfection and turned two critical sacrifices into run-scoring opportunities in the second and third innings.

From there, a dominant MSU pitching staff brought the contest home. One of the league’s best offensive teams was held to 13 total runs in five contests by the Bulldog hurlers.

“With our pitching staff, we know it just takes a couple of good innings,” MSU sophomore shortstop Adam Frazier said. “As hitters, we have to make adjustments and find a way to put some balls in play. We did that today.”

In the MSU second inning, Demarcus Henderson singled and took second base on a Mitch Slauter sacrifice. Wes Rea followed with an RBI single.

Kentucky (43-16) answered with a game-tying solo home run by J.T. Riddle.

Not deterred, small ball pushed the Bulldogs into the lead for good an inning later. Frazier started things with a leadoff single. Brent Brownlee had a sacrifice. Trey Porter followed with a two-out RBI single.