State Blanks Golden Eagles 5-0

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Mitch Slauter was 2-for-4 and banged a 2-run homer to give MSU a 3-0 lead.
Photo Courtesy of Bill Simmonds

PEARL, Miss. - For Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen, the good news is there was not much bullpen activity Tuesday night.

Other than, the occasional chasing down home run balls hit into the MSU bullpen.

The Bulldogs threw their third shutout of the season in a 5-0 win over in-state rival Southern Mississippi before a crowd of 4,300 at Trustmark Park. For MSU, it was their fourth straight win over Southern Miss.

MSU supplemented the good pitching with two massive two-run home runs. Snapping a string of five games without a long ball, Mitch Slauter hit a two-run shot in the fourth inning and Hunter Renfroe followed with his own two-run shot in the fifth inning. Slauter's shot landed in the bullpen, while Renfroe's went slightly further and barely cleared the MSU work area beyond the left field wall.

"The wind was more favorable tonight," Cohen said. "Especially compared to our ballpark, this yard is very exciting. It is such a relief to see a ball disappear out of the ballpark off of our bat. When you see that, it makes you feel like things are going your way. It is not just our yard or this yard, home runs are down everywhere.

"However, you feel something good when you see the ball leave the bat and it leaves the yard."

For the Bulldogs, it was third multi-home run game of the season. MSU has now hit 17 home runs through 41 games. The Maroon and White finished with five total hits; however, the two round-trippers gave MSU more bang for its buck and drove in four total runs.

On the mound, Brandon Woodruff threw four innings, Nick Routt followed in relief with three innings and Ross Mitchell finished the contest with two innings. The duo combined to allow six hits, with eight strikeouts and three walks allowed.

MSU overcame one error, turned one double play and forced Southern Miss to strand nine base runners.

"I settled down after my first inning (of work), pitched down in the zone and got a lot of ground ball outs," Routt said. "I got some early ground balls. I dropped down to the side and that is what caused that."

MSU built a 1-0 lead by scoring without a base hit in the third inning. The Bulldogs patched together three walks and a ground ball out for the game's first score.

In the fourth inning, the lead grew to 3-0 on Slauter's home run and an inning later to 5-0 on Renfroe's blast. MSU had more opportunities to blow the contest open but were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position through the first six innings of play.

"I think playing Thursday-Friday-Saturday last week really helped us," Cohen said. "The kids had a day off on Sunday. We came back and had a great practice on Monday. You could see the sprig in their step. That is real important for what we are trying to do."

Frazier and Slauter each had multiple hits for the Bulldogs. Frazier has hit safely in 34 of MSU's 41 games this season.

Kameron Brunty had two of Southern Miss' six hits. Still, the Golden Eagles were shut out for a second time this season and second straight time by Bulldog pitching.

MSU returns home for a Southeastern Conference series with in-state rival Ole Miss this weekend. The Bulldogs and Rebels meet at 7 p.m. Friday (SportSouth), 2 p.m. Saturday (SportSouth) and 1:30 p.m. Sunday (Comcast Sports Southeast).



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