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MSU caps magical week with SEC Tournament title

May 27, 2012

Mississippi State players surround pitcher Chris Stratton in celebration of the school's seventh Southeastern Conference Tournament champion on Sunday.

HOOVER, Ala. – It was a magical week for the Mississippi State baseball team.

The Bulldogs, ranked No. 21 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, capped it off by beating the Vanderbilt Commodores 3-0 for the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship Sunday afternoon at Regions Park.

In front of the fourth largest championship crowd of 12,526, MSU won its seventh tournament title and fourth in Hoover.

"I don't know if you can have a better home-field advantage," State head coach John Cohen said. "We are two hours away from home. What our fans did for our players is amazing. I want to thank those folks."

Cohen is the first person to win the title as a player and coach. He was a part of the 1987 and 1990 squads that won the tournament.

"These kids are the ones who competed their hearts out," Cohen said. "I love these kids. They are really fun to be around."

The Bulldogs (39-22) won five games in six days, with their only loss coming to No. 12 Kentucky on Thursday in a 5-1 defeat.

"I think it's one of those things you take day-by-day," MSU junior catcher Mitch Slauter said.

It was the first time the Bulldogs shut out an opponent to win the title.

Adam Frazier, Jonathan Holder and Demarcus Henderson were selected to the All-Tournament Team. Frazier won the Most Valuable Player.

Junior pitcher Chris Stratton came in the ninth with two outs and got Tony Kemp to ground to second. Frazier flipped it to second to Sam Frost to get the force out.

That was Stratton's first career save.

The Bulldogs battled injuries all year. Between the injured players, 131 games were missed this season. Nearly everyone was healthy this week in Hoover.

MSU's pitching staff allowed 12 runs this week.

"You have to congratulate Mississippi State," Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said. "They played a really good game."

The Commodores finished their season up to this point at 33-26 and wait to hear their NCAA fate at 11 a.m. today when ESPNU announces the selections for the NCAA Tournament.

By winning the SEC Tournament, the Bulldogs are automatically in the tournament and find out their destination today.

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