AUBURN, Ala. – Another night at Plainsman Park and another shutout.
Ross Mitchell threw his fourth complete game of the season as the Mississippi State baseball team made it back-to-back shutouts with a 3-0 win over Auburn in a Southeastern Conference game played before a regional television audience Saturday night.
Mitchell has thrown all four complete games in league play. The back-to-back shutouts have occurred twice this season and the team has now five shutouts overall. MSU clinched its fifth conference series win.
MSU improved to 30-18 overall and 13-10 in league play. The Bulldogs are now tied with Alabama for third place in the Western Division standings. Auburn slipped to 25-22 and 9-14.
“Ross had 10 ground ball outs,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “Auburn had more balls in the air than usual. We defended well enough. Brett Pirtle made two great defensive plays. Alex Detz has played well at first base this weekend.
“We are doing what we do. We are negotiating pitches, defending and scoring enough runs.”
In the series opener, Trevor Fitts, Jacob Lindgren and Jonathan Holder combined for a 3-0 shutout victory. Saturday, Mitchell (7-4) went at it alone as he threw for 132 pitches and allowed four total hits.
In the third inning, the Bulldogs scored all of their runs. Jake Vickerson and Derrick Armstrong started things with walks. C.T. Bradford followed with an RBI-single, giving him three of the team’s six RBIs for the weekend. A ground ball out by Detz scored another run, while an RBI-double by Pirtle capped the scoring in that inning and for the game.
“Timely hitting is the key,” Cohen said. “I look at the scores around the league and the teams that can put together one big inning will win. Pitching and defense are important. Our kids believe they are going to win. It is important to believe. We are finding a way to score enough runs.”
MSU finished with six hitters, including no multiple hitters. Auburn, which left the bases loaded in the ninth inning, finished with four hits and no multiple hitters. Keegan Thompson (5-3) took the loss for the Tigers.
The series finale is at 1 p.m. Sunday.