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Pitching steps up for Bulldogs

March 3, 2013

The cold weather made it hard for the Mississippi State baseball team to manufacture much offense.

The pitching stepped up to lead the way and the Bulldogs rallied for a 4-1 win over St. Joseph's on a cold Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.

The Bulldogs (13-0) got solid pitching outings from both Evan Mitchell and Ross Mitchell.

Junior righty Evan Mitchell started the game and pitched an efficient five innings. He gave up only one hit on three runs. He walked five batters, but was able to strike out a season-high nine.

"Evan Mitchell had an interesting day," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "I thought he threw some really good pitches and had some great sequences in there. I thought he was significantly better than he was last time."

Sophomore lefty Ross Mitchell (4-0) got the win in relief with a solid three innings of work. He only gave up one hit. He walked nobody and struck out three batters.

"I thought the MVP of the ballgame for us was Ross and what he did," Cohen said. "He just came in, settled things down, got some weak contact and allowed us to get through those innings."

Mitchell faced 11 batters and only threw 43 pitches. 

“They swing early, but I wanted to see if I could stay down in the zone so they’d swing at a bad pitch and roll-over it," Ross Mitchell said. "I was able to do that for the most part.”

Ross Mitchell battled the 30-degree weather where an occasional snow flurry was spotted to pick up his team leading fourth win.

“I just tried to come back between innings and get in the tunnel to stay warm," Ross Mitchell said.

St. Joseph's (2-6) struck first. Kevin Kratochwill led the game off with a double to right field. He later scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Hueth to make it 1-0 in the Hawks' favor.

The Bulldogs answered in the bottom of the first inning after Adam Frazier, who reached on a single to left field, scored on a 4-6-3 double play to tie the game at 1-1.

There was no more scoring until the seventh inning. Senior designated hitter Mitch Slauter led off the bottom of the inning with a single to right field. He stole second and reached third on a single by Demarcus Henderson.

Cohen decided to pinch hit for freshman Jacob Robson with sophomore Tyler Fullerton. 

Fullerton hit a bloop into right field, and the second baseman was unable to come up with allowing Slauter to score the game winning run.

"I was just looking to poke something the other way," Fullerton said. "That's the game of baseball, sometimes you can get a little squib like that and it will fall."

The Bulldogs added two more runs in the eighth inning to give them some insurance heading to the final frame.

"We are battling the elements just as much as the other team if not more," Fullerton said. "We just found a way to get it done."

Sophomore closer Jonathan Holder came into close it out. He picked up his fourth save of the season and 13th career to tie current Philadelphia Phillie Jonathan Papelbon for eighth all-time in the MSU record books.

St. Joseph's Jordan Carter (0-1), who retied 10 in a row form the first inning to the fourth inning, took the loss.

The Hawks got two hits from Anthony Cirillo.

The Bulldogs got three hits from C.T. Bradford and two from Frazier. Frazier extended his hitting streak to eight games and has hit safely in 12 of 13 games this season. It is also his team-leading ninth multiple-hit game.

Bradford is now at a team-best nine-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in all 13 games.

The two teams are back at it today for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. MSU will throw senior right hander Kendall Graveman and sophomore righty Will Cox in the double dip.

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