ATHENS, Ga. – Mississippi State junior left-hander Ross Mitchell threw his team’s first complete game of the season as the Bulldogs knocked off Georgia 6-1 in the opening game of a Southeastern Conference doubleheader Saturday at Foley Field.
Trevor Fitts, Jacob Lindgren and Jonathan Holder followed that lead as the trio of Bulldog hurlers turned in another masterpiece in the nightcap. MSU completed the doubleheader sweep with a 4-1 victory.
MSU improved to 15-8 overall and 2-1 in league play, while winning a series at Georgia for the first time since 1997.Georgia saw its 11-game win streak snapped in Saturday’s opener and finished the day at 13-8 and 1-2.
“You can’t say too many superlatives for what our pitchers did today against a good offensive team,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “We had our main guys on the bump. When they pitch, you can tell there is a different vibe in the dugout. The numbers are staggering when we have the lead late in a game. When you have really good guys at the back end of your pitching staff, you should be able to close out wins.”
In the opener, Mitchell (3-1) needed 129 pitches to throw his first complete game in the Maroon and White. His previous career high was eight innings thrown. Mitchell is now 19-1 in his MSU career. The complete game was the first by a Bulldog hurler since Kendall Graveman threw one at Texas A&M on April 13, 2013.
The MSU offensive attack included a three-run third inning and a three-run seventh inning.
In the third inning, Zack Randolph started things with a one-out walk. Matthew Britton followed with an RBI-double to the outfield gap. After a single by Jake Vickerson, Alex Detz doubled both runners home.
In the seventh inning, MSU started things with a leadoff walk by Cody Brown and an infield error by Georgia which reached Randolph. Britton followed with a two-run single and Brett Pirtle added an infield hit for another run.
Detz had a hit in all three games in the series. Britton had two hits and three RBIs as the Bulldogs finished with six total hits.
Georgia broke up the shutout in the eighth inning but did not threaten against Mitchell in the ninth inning.
“We just had a much better day at the plate,” Cohen said. “We played with more confidence and attacked more. When you have the pitchers on the mound that we had today, you just want to get some type of lead. Scoring runs early proved really big for this ballclub.”
In game two, MSU scored first with a lone run in the first inning on an RBI-single by Detz. The lead was stretched to 3-0 in the fourth inning on a two-run double by C.T. Bradford.
Fitts drew the start for MSU but was lifted with two outs in the fifth inning and his team leading 3-1. Lindgren (2-0) worked MSU out of that tight spot and dominated until running into difficulty of his own in the eighth inning. With two runners on, Holder entered and got the strikeout before working the ninth inning for his second save.
MSU finished with seven hits, including another RBI-single by Detz in the ninth inning. Bradford was the lone multiple hitter for MSU in this contest.
MSU does not play a midweek game this weekend. Conference play resumes next weekend when Vanderbilt comes to Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs and Commodores are scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. Friday (Comcast Sports Southeast), 7:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU) and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.