After a 62 minute rain delay (without actually raining during the delay) in Tallahassee, No. 3 Samford and No. 2 Mississippi State finally got it on at Dick Howser Stadium in the opening round of the Tallahassee Regional at Florida State University.
Well, one baseball team got it on and the other cooled down.
In the top of the 2nd, SEC Pitcher of the Year Chris Stratton (11-2) threw an 0-2 high fastball to Samford's Brandon Miller and Miller sent it Gainsville. It was Miller's, the nation's home run leader, 23rd bomb of the year. Samford also got another solo home run by Saxon Butler, his 13th of the year, and a 2-run bomb from C.K. Irby in the top of the 8th. Before today, Stratton had only given up 4 homers all season. Stratton went 7 2/3 innings (119 pitches) with four earned runs, walked four, gave up six hits, and struck out four. RH Caleb Reed came in to relieve Chris and the very next batter, Christiaan Durdaller, belted ANOTHER home run. Samford, who's participating in their first-ever NCAA D1 regional baseball appearance in program history, hit three dingers in the top of the 8th. Before today, MSU had only given up 13 home runs ALL season. LHP Chad Girodo also gave State some pitching relief in the contest.
State looked to have a little offensive life in the bottom of the 7th as they got a single by Slauhter and Rea got five feet away from a 2-run bomb. Instead it's an out thanks to Brandon Miller's glove, then Mitch gets caught stealing second, and Norris gets fanned. Other than that, Mississippi State had extremely cold hitting.
Samford's Charles Basford (10-2) was absolutely phenomenal with eight shut out innings, no earned runs, five hits, five walks, and four Ks on 131 pitches. This sets the other Bulldogs up well as they get to pitch their ace Josh Martin (12-1) against UAB or FSU. C.K. Irby finished things up for Samford with his 10th save of the season.
Mississippi State now falls into the loser's bracket, and will face the loser of the Florida State-UAB, who plays later tonight at 5 p.m., tomorrow in an elimination game on ESPN3.com at 11 a.m Central. Samford plays the FSU-UAB winner on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. Central.
Keep the faith, Bulldog faithful. With a solid and still deep bullpen, State can make some noise if it can salvage a few hits here and there tomorrow. Hitting, not pitching, will be the key from here on out.