BATON ROUGE, La. - Mississippi State freshman right-hander Chris Stratton threw seven innings of three-hit baseball as the Bulldogs trimmed LSU 2-1 in the final game of the 2010 Southeastern Conference baseball regular season played Saturday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium.
"We needed to win this one for the seniors," said Stratton, a true freshman from Tupelo. "They have been a great encouragement to me all year. We have learned so much from them. They have competed all year and deserved to win the last one."
The Bulldogs snapped a 14-game losing streak inside conference play and actually won for the first time against a Western Division opponent. MSU finishes 23-33 overall and 6-24 in league play. LSU secured the eighth spot in the SEC Tournament by winning the weekend series. The Tigers enter postseason at 36-20 and 14-16.
While LSU looks to next week, the Bulldogs were able to enjoy the moment Saturday. Stratton drew 14 starts in his freshman campaign and compiled a 5-3 record. After working around a pair of first-inning hits, Stratton allowed only one hit over the next six innings of play.
"We threw two freshman who were throwing in high school a year ago," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "You know that's exciting for us. I'm glad Chris went out and finished the season like this. His curveball was working. He got a lot of chases on elevated fastballs."
"Our kids played as hard today as they did on day one."
The Bulldogs scored in the opening inning on an RBI-single by Ryan Duffy. M-State then stretched the lead with a critical insurance score on an infield error in the eighth inning. In the eighth inning, the Bulldogs bunched a walk, hit batsman and Wes Thigpen single with the throwing error to plate another run.
After throwing 108 pitches, Stratton gave the ball to Kendall Graveman who threw the final two innings for his first save. Stratton faced 30 batters, recording seven strikeouts but walking six.
Graveman was promptly greeted by a single from Blake Dean and a double from Austin Nola. A walk then loaded the bases. A critical double play ground ball did plate the Tigers a run but it also helped Graveman and the Bulldogs escape the eighth inning.
In the ninth inning, Graveman issued a one-out walk but got back-to-back groundouts to close out the final victory of the 2010 season.
The Bulldogs finished with six hits - one hit apiece by Connor Powers, Duffy, Russ Sneed, Jet Butler, Thigpen and Jonathan Ogden.
The Tigers finished with five hits, including a multi-hit game by Nola.
Chris Matulis (5-3) worked the first two innings and took the loss. Four additional Tigers were used on the mound in the contest.