The Mississippi State Bulldogs found some late inning magic in their season opening contest against Western Carolina in their baseball season opener Friday night at Dudy Noble Field, but they did not find enough to sneak past the Catamounts, falling 3-2.
Jeremy Null (1-0) hurled a gem for the Catamounts, going eight innings while striking out 12 and scattering three hits.
The Catamount offense got off to a fantastic start as well, scoring two runs in the top of the first. Mississippi State starter Brandon Woodruff (0-1) hit the lead off batter of the game, Aaron Attaway, and walked Bradley Strong to open the game. Jacob Hoyle later singled to score Attaway, and Luke Gragg scored Strong on an infield single to put Western Carolina up 2-0.
After getting through the first inning, Woodruff faced two pitchers in the second inning before giving way to Ross Mitchell, who went eight innings and struck out seven, both career highs.
The only time Western Carolina got to Mitchell came in the seventh inning when Attaway doubled and scored on a Cody Jones single to put the Catamounts up 3-0.
After the Catamounts lifted Null from the game, the Bulldogs found a way to get on the scoreboard. Alex Detz drew a lead off walk, and Brett Pirtle singled to right field. Wes Rea showed some more of his late inning heroics smacking a two-RBI single to cut the Western Carolina lead to 3-2.
With Kyle Hann came into run for Rea and advanced to second on a fielder's choice by C. T. Bradford. Cody Brown then made his first Mississippi State appearance, drawing a walk. Jacob Robson moved Hann to third with a fly out to centerfield, but the Bulldogs could not move the runner the final 90 feet as Seth Heck grounded out to shortstop to end the game.
The Bulldogs and Catamounts return to action today at 4pm.