Mississippi State takes two from Georgia to win first SEC series
Published 12:30 am Sunday, March 16, 2014
After a tough loss in its Southeastern Conference opener, Mississippi State needed a pick-me-up.
Ross Mitchell and the rest of the Bulldogs’ pitching staff were happy to provide it.
Mitchell threw a complete game to lead the Bulldogs to a 6-1 win over Georgia in the first half of a doubleheader Saturday, then Trevor Fitts, Jacob Lindgren and Jonathan Holder held Georgia to a single run again in a 4-1 victory that completed the sweep.
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Mississippi State (15-8, 2-1 SEC) won a series at Georgia for the first time since 1997. Georgia (13-8, 1-2) had its 11-game winning streak snapped.
“You can’t say too many superlatives for what our pitchers did today against a good offensive team,” Mississippi State coach John Cohen said. “We had our main guys on the bump. When they pitch, you can tell there is a different vibe in the dugout. The numbers are staggering when we have the lead late in a game. When you have really good guys at the back end of your pitching staff, you should be able to close out wins.”
The doubleheader included Saturday’s regularly-scheduled game and today’s game, which was moved up because of the possibility of inclement weather. The rest of the SEC followed suit, with only one series — Arkansas at Florida — not playing a doubleheader Saturday.
In the opener, Mitchell (3-1) needed 129 pitches to throw his first complete game for MSU, and the team’s first this season. His previous career high was eight innings thrown. Mitchell is now 19-1 in his MSU career.
The MSU offensive attack included a three-run third inning and a three-run seventh.
In the third inning, Zack Randolph started things with a one-out walk and scored on Matthew Britton’s RBI double. After a single by Jake Vickerson, Alex Detz doubled both runners home.
In the seventh, Britton singled in two more runs and Brett Pirtle brought in a third with an infield hit.
Britton finished with two hits and three RBIs.
In game two, State got on the board with Detz’s RBI single in the first inning and made it 3-0 with a two-run double by C.T. Bradford in the fourth.
Detz added another RBI single in the ninth for the visiting Bulldogs.
Fitts started game two and made it into the fifth inning. Lindgren worked out of a jam and pitched into the eighth, when Holder entered the game with two runners on. Holder escaped that mess and also pitched the ninth to earn his second save of the season.
The MSU trio combined to allow seven hits and two walks, and struck out 13 batters.
“We just had a much better day at the plate,” Cohen said. “We played with more confidence and attacked more. When you have the pitchers on the mound that we had today, you just want to get some type of lead. Scoring runs early proved really big for this ballclub.”