STARKVILLE, Miss. – For Mississippi State, game two of the Diamond Classic presented by Polk’s Meat Products Friday night at Dudy Noble Field was well worth the wait.
After a lengthy tournament opener and a rain delay, MSU finally took to the field and worked late into a damp, breezy evening to rally past Michigan State 4-2 in the final game on the opening day of the Diamond Classic presented by Polk’s Meat Products.
“We had a good night of work,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “It was good to see some quality at-bats on a difficult night. We have done a good job in two-out situations. Hopefully, that trend continues.”
MSU improved to 7-4, while Michigan State fell to 4-4. For the Spartans, it was a difficult night on the diamond as they dropped a 10-5, 10-inning decision earlier in the day at Dudy Noble Field.
Michigan State, who beat No. 1 Oregon State less than a week ago, built a 2-1 lead with a pair of scores in the third inning. Blaise Salter chased MSU starter Brandon Woodruff with a two-run double down the left field line. Ross Mitchell (1-0) entered in relief and got the final two outs of the third inning.
Mitchell completed the contest from there, as the junior left-hander threw 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and no runs.
The Bulldogs had their own troubles connecting against Mick VanVossen of the Spartans. MSU managed two base runners in the fourth through seventh innings before finally breaking through in the eighth inning.
“The main thing is staying confidence because we were getting some good swings,” Cohen said. “Ross did another great job of competing and giving us a chance.”
A hit batsman reached Wes Rea and chased VanVossen to the start the eighth inning. Pirtle and Bradford followed with back-to-back bunt singles. An overthrow on a bunt plated the game-tying run. Pinch-hitter Daniel Garner lined a two-out single to break the tie and Cody Walker followed with an RBI-single.
The Bulldogs have now driven in 32 two-outs RBIs this season.
Bradford matched a career high with four of MSU’s eight hits. Pirtle also had multiple hits.
Salter finished with two of Michigan State’s five hits. Cam Vieaux (0-1) took the loss in relief.
The Bulldogs return to the field Saturday for a doubleheader against Eastern Illinois and Michigan State. Game one against the Panthers begins at 1 p.m., followed by a rematch with the Spartans at 4:30 p.m.