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Baseball Bulldogs Split Games In BankFirst Challenge

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Official Statistics (vs. North Florida)  
Official Statistics (vs. North Florida) (PDF) 
Official Statistics (vs. Northern Illinois) 
Official Statistics (vs. Northern Illinois) (PDF)

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State freshman left-hander Nick Routt sparkled in his Bulldog pitching debut Saturday afternoon.

Routt, a prep standout from Silver Spring, Maryland, threw eight innings of seven-hit, one-run baseball as the Bulldogs eased past North Florida 7-1 in the opening game of the second day of the 2009 BankFirst Baseball Challenge at Dudy Noble Field.

The early season luck for the Bulldogs (2-1) ran out in the nightcap. Northern Illinois (1-2) scored six runs in the seventh inning to take an 11-10 victory from the homestanding Bulldogs.

Saturday’s opener was all about the 6-foot-3 Routt, who starred at St. John’s College High School last year. Routt struck out four and walked one, throwing 89 pitches while facing 30 batters. Greg Houston threw a scoreless ninth inning to complete the Bulldog victory.

Offensively, the Bulldogs rallied from a 1-0 deficit with three runs in both the sixth and seventh innings.

In the sixth inning, Ryan Duffy started things with a one-out single. In his second career start, JuCo transfer Jarrod Parks followed with a hit of his own. After a strikeout, Russ Sneed lined a 1-0 pitch easily over the left field fence for a three-run home run and a 3-1 MSU lead. It was MSU’s first home run of the young season.

The Bulldogs blew the contest open an inning later. Connor Powers had an RBI-double, while Duffy drove in a pair with a double just fair inside the right field line. An RBI-double by Mark Goforth closed the Bulldogs’ scoring an inning later.

In the second inning, the Ospreys scored on a sacrifice fly by Sam Perry. After working out of a bases loaded jam, Routt settled down, facing only three batters in each of the next three innings.

For North Florida (1-1), Brian Wilson had four hits. Starting pitcher Phil Rorabaugh (0-1) took the loss for UNF. Rorabaugh pitched 5-2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs (all earned), with four
strikeouts and a walk.

In game two, the Bulldogs actually built a 5-2 lead in the fifth inning. After the Huskies tied things in the sixth inning, Ryan Duffy slapped a two-run home run to give MSU a 7-5 advantage.

That lead would be short-lived as the Huskies sent 10 men to the plate in the six-run seventh inning. Still the Bulldogs had one last rally, scoring three times in the eighth inning.

MSU finished with 10 hits in that contest. Sneed continued his hot afternoon with three more hits. Duffy drove in three runs with his home run and an RBI-single. Jet Butler also had multiple hits and pair of RBIs.

NIU finished with 14 hits. Jordin Hood and Troy White each had three hits. Matt Behren and Joe Etcheverry were also multiple hitters for the Huskies. Behren, White, Etcheverry and Minogue each had consecutive run-producing singles in the big inning.

Caleb Reed (0-1) took the loss for MSU. Starter Devin Jones lasted four innings, allowing two hits and one run (earned) with three strikeouts. Lee Swindle pitched the fifth inning and started the sixth inning. Reed followed Swindle and was touched for six hits and six runs (all earned) in 1-2/3 innings. Justin Bussey completed the contest for the Bulldogs.

Tom Zelasko (1-0) earned the win in relief for the Huskies. Dave Reynolds worked the final inning for his first save.

The BankFirst Baseball Challenge concludes with two games on Sunday. Northern Illinois and North Florida meet at 11 a.m. North Florida and MSU conclude the tournament with a 2:30 p.m. start.

Russ Sneed
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