Portland starter Travis Radke showed MSU today why he is the Pilots' ace on the pitching staff. But his effort was not quite enough to get the Pilots (0-2) in the win column, as State (2-0) used a strong pitching performance of its own coupled with a few scattered runs to hold off the the Oregon natives 2-1 in game two Saturday afternoon.
The win was a historic one for State, as it gave the Bulldogs 1,000 victories all time at Dudy Noble Field, Polk-Dement Stadium.
Mississippi State got on the board first in the fourth after three scoreless pitcher's-duel type innings. After Wes Rea reached on a swinging strikeout, Trey Porter moved him over on a single, and Hunter Renfroe scored Rea to get the Bulldogs on the board. The Pilots would even the score back up in the 6th with a RBI single of their own, but Demarcus Henderson scored Daryl Norris in the bottom half of the inning, giving the Bulldogs the lead, ultimately for good.
Junior Evan Mitchell was solid in his 2013 season debut. The Georgia native scattered three hits and allowed the one run in the 6th inning while striking out six in five innings of work. State used a bullpen-by-committee following Mitchell, as C.T. Bradford, Ross Mitchell, Ben Bracewell, and Jonathan Holder all saw work to close the game out. Again, it was an impressive effort by a staff that finished the season white-hot last year in leading MSU to an SEC Tournament championship. Holder picked up right where he left off last season, coming in and striking out four Pilots in 1.2 innings worth of work while allowing no hits.
Again, Portland ace Travis Radke was outstanding in a losing effort, striking out nine while holding MSU to seven scattered hits and two runs in 6.2 innings of work.
The Bulldogs look to potentially sweep the series Sunday afternoon as the two teams hit the diamond for a doubleheader, the first game starting around 1p.m. Kendall Graveman gets the ball first for MSU in game 3 tomorrow.