Posted: 11:03 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Mississippi State used the bats and the arms for a near perfect all-around game to defeat the Memphis Tigers 12-1 Tuesday night at AutoZone Park in Memphis. Evan Mitchell got his first start in a month but struggled through the first with three walks before getting a strikeout to leave the bases loaded. Another walk in the second meant another quick exit for the junior hurler as he gave way to Ross Mitchell.
Mitchell (8-0, 0.97) did what he has done all year and threw six strong innings striking out three batters and allowing only a run on three hits. The performance kept him under a run in earned run average, a category in which he not only leads the team but the SEC as well with the fourth-best numbers in the country. Additionally, his eighth win pace the team.
State hit the board early in the first inning with a one-out double by Alex Detz being rewarded with Brett Pirtle driving him in with two outs and giving MSU the 1-0 lead before Memphis could bat.
The score would remain the same until three-consecutive hits in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and only one out, Demarcus Henderson laid down a suicide squeeze to drive in Pirtle and the Maroon and White carried a 2-0 lead into the fifth inning.
The Diamond Dawgs would then break it open. After a one-out Adam Frazier double and a Detz walk, Hunter Renfroe stepped to the dish and smashed a ball deep to left field for a three-run home run. The home run finally came with runners on base for Renfroe who had hit seven consecutive solo shots. It was his 14th dinger of the year, putting him in the lead in the conference and in sole possession of second place in the country.
MSU would add two more in the seventh with a lead-off walk by Renfroe followed up by a Pirtle triple driving him in. Wes Rea would hit a ball deep enough to bring Pirtle home and State had the 7-1 lead.
An academic five-run ninth just padded the score for the Bulldogs and they would get a key midweek win heading into the big weekend against #3 Vanderbilt.
Following Mitchell's strong performance, State had two combined shut-out innings from Trevor Fitts, Chad Girodo and Ben Bracewell giving up a total of one hit and striking out two batters.
MSU's offense was led by Pirtle who garnered a career-high four hits in five at bats with two RBIs and three runs scored. They also got two-hit performances from Renfroe (2-for-4; HR, BB, 3RBI, 3R) and Frazier (2-for-5; 2B, R).
The #10 Bulldogs improved to 33-10 on the season and now take the toughest trip of the year to Nashville to take on the Commodores (35-6, 16-2).
Pitching rotation is expected to be Luis Pollorena (6-1, 3.38) on Friday at 6:30 p.m, Kendall Graveman (5-3, 2.06) on Saturday at noon and Jacob Lindgren (4-1, 2.54) on Sunday at 1:30.