Bulldogs Finish SEC Play With Most Conference Wins Since 1997
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Mississippi State was on the cusp of a third-straight road sweep in Southeastern Conference baseball action Saturday afternoon.
However, the Bulldogs could not close the deal.
Playing its final game at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, Alabama celebrated Senior Day with a 2-1 victory in the final regular season game for both teams.
MSU (35-20 overall, 18-12 SEC) saw an eight-game conference road winning streak come to an end. The Bulldogs earned the No. 5 seed in the SEC Tournament, which starts Tuesday at the Hoover Met outside of Birmingham. MSU will face No. 12 seed Georgia (26-28-1, 11-18-1 SEC) in a single-elimination first-round game. That game will start approximately 30 minutes after the 4:30 p.m. tournament game comes to a close and will be televised by Comcast Sports Southeast.
Alabama (34-21, 15-14 SEC) got solo home runs from Mikey White in the first inning and Ben Moore in the fifth inning. Saturday’s limited offensive production followed a trend started Friday, when MSU won 1-0 on a Matthew Britton home run.
“We gave up two 0-0 pitch home runs,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “That was their MO coming in and we knew it. We just didn’t generate offense. We did a good job of competing. Our hitters are getting series about the last four or five innings and they need to be serious about nine innings.”
MSU stranded a pair of base runners in the eighth inning and could also do nothing with a two-out single from Alex Detz in the ninth inning.
The Bulldogs saw a five-game win streak snapped in the series but do finish the season with seven conference series wins and a third straight series win in this rivalry.
MSU collected six hits in the 1-0 win and was held to five hits Saturday. Seth Heck was the lone multiple hitter.
UA collected seven hits, including multi-hit games by Wade Wass and Casey Hughston.
“We need to tighten up some things in the postseason,” Cohen said. “We went 11-4 in our last 15 conference games and I am really proud of the kids for that. We made a run last year at this time. Hopefully, we are in a position to do that. We have been playing well.”
For MSU, Preston Brown (4-2) took the loss after only facing four batters. Ben Bracewell followed with 4.2 innings of relief, allowing four hits and the second home run. Brandon Woodruff and Jacob Lindgren combined for three innings of shutout relief.
UA starter Justin Kamplain (6-3) threw 5.1 innings of three-hit shutout baseball to garner the win. Jay Shaw followed before giving way to Thomas Burrows in the seventh inning. Burrows earned his 10th save.
Mississippi State will play Georgia in the fourth game of the 2014 SEC Tournament Tuesday night. First pitch is TBA.