Mississippi State wasted no time whatsoever getting out in front of South Alabama in Wednesday night's matchup of 2013 Starkville Regional opponents. The Bulldogs (11-4) put up two first-inning runs to pull ahead of the Jaguars (5-7) 2-0 early on, and Butch Thompson's pitching staff made sure that lead stuck, providing a second straight shutout performance en route to a 3-0 MSU win.
The pitching efforts on Wednesday were spread between sophomore Preston Brown (4 IP - 5 H - 0 ER - 5 K), junior Ross "Slim Hossy" Mitchell (W - 3.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 K), and junior Jacob Lindgren (S - 1.2 IP - 0 H - 0 ER - 2 K). The win for Mitchell pushed his overall MSU record to 18-0, which is flat out ridiculous. Mitchell is seriously putting his name in the hat for being one of MSU's best pitchers, at least in recent years. It was another typical outing for Ross, as he scattered three hits amongst a bevy of ground outs and frustrated Jaguar hitters. Lindgren, who seems to be settling into the Chad Girodo role very nicely, came in to finish things off with a perfect final 1.2 innings of work. If Lindgren can keep pitching the way he has been, he will no doubt be a huge asset to this team as SEC play comes around. That great bullpen just gets stronger.
On the offensive side of things, the game wasn't without a bit of offensive display, even though it was just a three-run, five-hit game for the Bulldogs. Senior Alex Detz launched his first home run of the season - a solo shot to right field in the third inning that gave MSU its third and final run of the game. Other than that, though, things were mostly quiet, as the five hits were all registered to three Bulldogs whose names you might could guess - Alex Detz, Wes Rea, and Brett Pirtle.
The win for MSU meant that the winning streak now moves to seven games heading into a very important weekend of play in Tuscon. MSU now prepares to travel out west to take on UC Santa Barbara and Arizona in the Hi Corbett Classic. While Arizona is the name team in this round-robin tournament, they have struggled mightily this season, as they are currently on a five-game losing streak. On the flip side of that, UC Santa Barbara is having a pretty solid season so far as they currently sit at 7-1 - a record that includes a 6-4 win over defending national champion UCLA. The Gauchos (yes, the Gauchos) are just another one of many outstanding west coast teams, so a 4-0 weekend will be tough to repeat. Still, MSU heads into Tuscon this weekend with an enormous amount of momentum, and with the Holy Cross series seemingly well behind them.
The Bulldogs kick off the Hi Corbett Classic play this Friday, March 7th with a game against the previously mentioned UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at 3 p.m. State will then take on host Arizona in the nightcap at 8 p.m. Central Standard Time.
Highlights - MSU 3, South Alabama 0