By the end of last summer, Trevor Fitts had earned himself one of the few starting spots on the front end of MSU's pitching rotation. Granted, those spots were usually 1-2 innings of work and not of the traditional form for a starter, but John Cohen's trust in Fitts' ability to keep the ball down and get outs was evident. Already, here in just the second game of the 2014 season, Fitts has already proven that last year's rise to the top of the rotation was more than just a temporary gig.
Trevor struck out a career high 11 while working 6 innings, another career high, in leading Mississippi State to its first win of the season yesterday in a 6-1 victory over Western Carolina. Fitts would scatter seven hits and two walks over those six innings of work to earn the win and keep the Catamounts at a safe distance the entire game.
MSU's bats made sure that Trevor never had to worry about trailing in the game, as the Bulldogs put up three in the fourth inning, highlighted by a Cody Brown RBI triple and a two-RBI single by Jake Vickerson. State would tack on three more runs in the eighth inning to make sure Western Carolina didn't sneak away with a series win on Saturday.
In the final three innings following Fitts day, MSU used Jacob Lindgren, Preston Brown and All-American closer Jonathan Holder to finish things off. Brown made his way in for Lindgren quickly after Jacob struggled with three batters, and with a 3-2 count and two outs in the eighth, Holder trotted in to record the final strike and out of the inning, ending a bit of a jam. Holder came back out to work a perfect ninth as well to earn his first save of the season.
Overall, it was really nice to see MSU come back and grab the win in game two after they struggled a bit in game one. State was able to wake the bats up a bit, and the outstanding outing by Fitts made sure they had every opportunity to win the game. Last year, we mostly saw Trevor working the short inning starts late in the season, but this start, albeit just one start early in the year, gives me hope that he can really be another constant in the starting rotation. That's something MSU will need to establish if they hope to make a deep run again and maybe do it while not putting as much pressure on that talented bullpen to carry the way.
MSU returns to the diamond this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in hopes of taking the series from W. Carolina on what promises to be a beautiful day in Starkville. The Bulldogs will send either Freshman sensation Dakota Hudson or Senior ace Ben Bracewell to the mound for the start. Cohen says no matter who starts, both guys will throw on Sunday.
Player of the game
Trevor Fitts - 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, 99 TP