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    Mississippi State Beats LSU, 4-3 in 10 Innings

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    2012 SEC Baseball Tournament
    Game 13 - Mississippi State 4, LSU 3 (10 Innings)


    Box Score
    Video Highlights

    Hoover, Ala. - This season’s rubber match goes to Mississippi State.
                    
    Playing its fourth game in four days at the Southeastern Conference Tournament, the 21st-ranked Mississippi State baseball team found its second wind and notched its sixth walk-off win of the season with a stunning 4-3, 10-inning victory over No. 2 LSU.
                    
    Matthew Britton’s RBI-single plated Mitch Slauter with the game-winning run in the home half of the 10th inning. The Bulldogs battled back from a 3-0 deficit in the eighth inning and won a game when trailing after eight complete innings for only the second time this season.
                    
    The longtime rivals were meeting for the 16th time in an SEC Tournament, fifth time this season and second time in this year’s event. The Bulldogs lost the first two before winning the final three meetings for the season, with Friday’s dramatics following a 3-2 win over the Tigers Wednesday.
                    
    MSU (37-22) will face Kentucky (43-15) in a noon semifinal matchup Saturday. LSU (43-16) will now await its postseason pairings when the NCAA announces those selections on Monday.
                    
    “Our kids competed hard,” MSU head coach John Cohen said, “We had some situations early where we didn’t score runs. But we have the right kids in the dugout. You can get frustrated, but you can’t lose focus. They competed their hearts out there this afternoon. I really love these kids. I love everything about them.”
                    
    The Bulldogs defeated LSU twice in the same conference tournament for the first time. This was the 10th time in an SEC Tournament where MSU has won three times. Building on one of their best finishes in school history, the Bulldogs have now won 14 of their last 19 games against conference opponents.
                    
    “We played so many freshmen today,” Cohen said. “We played just about everybody we had. What is amazing is we have so many players on this team they had no played in an SEC baseball game before this season. We took these freshmen and beat one of the premier teams in the nation for the second time in a week.”
                    
    Entering the tournament, the Tigers had won 13 of their last 14 games in this stadium. Other than a one-sided romp over Ole Miss, the Purple and Gold found this week they were no match for the Maroon side of the Magnolia State.
                    
    The heroes were numerous.
                    
    In only his fourth at-bat this season, Luis Pollorena drilled a game-tying sacrifice fly in the ninth inning. An inning later, Mitch Slauter, catching his fourth game in as many days, started things with a one-out double in the 10th inning. After a pitching change, final LSU hurler Nick Rumbelow was then greeted by Britton’s game-winner, a soft liner off the glove of second baseman JaCoby Jones.
                    
    “With Matthew Britton, you have a freshman hitting below .200, yet you have a tremendous amount of confidence in him,” Cohen said. “Every day, he takes good swings. He works so hard at the game. He is an athletic kid and he just out-competes people. Sometimes, it is not about the stroke, as much as it is about competing and finding a way.”
                    
    As expected, the Bulldogs were solid on the mound. LSU built an early 3-0 lead off MSU freshman left-hander Jacob Lindgren, who was making his first start. Lindgren was touched for a two-run single by Ty Ross in the first inning and an RBI-groundout by Austin Nola in the second inning.
                    
    From there, Lindgren regained his composure and worked a career-best 4.2 innings, allowing the Bulldogs to keep competing.
                    
    “Jacob pitched like a freshman in his first SEC Tournament game,” Cohen said. “But he is going to be such a great one for us. The credit goes to (pitching coach) Butch Thompson. After the first inning, Butch met him and told he was to tentative with the breaking ball. He told him to attack with the breaking ball and that would get us some swings out of the zone.
                    
    “Jacob did what all of our pitchers do, he competed.”
     
    In relief, Caleb Reed took matters from there and worked through the eighth inning. Ross Mitchell retired the side in order in the ninth inning and Jonathan Holder (2-0) worked around MSU’s only error in a scoreless 10th inning.
                    
    Holder, a true freshman right-hander, has worked a school-record 26.1 innings without allowing a run. Bulldog pitching allowed no runs over the final eight innings and only allowed 14 runs in five games against the league’s regular season champion.
                    
    MSU finished with 10 hits, including Adam Frazier’s sixth three-hit game of the season. Frazier has hit safely in 49 of 59 games this season. Daryl Norris added his 10th multi-hit game of the season.
                    
    For the Bulldogs, an RBI-single by Hunter Renfroe broke up the shutout in the eighth inning. A lead-off double by Wes Rea swung the momentum for good in the home half of the ninth inning. An RBI-single by Frazier brought the Maroon and White within a run, and set the stage for Pollorena’s first career RBI.
                    
    LSU finished with eight hits. Mason Katz and Jordy Snikeris each had two hits. The league’s leading hitter Raph Rhymes was held hitless.
                    
    The Bulldogs beat LSU’s best on the mound. Starter Ryan Eades left after throwing six shutout innings. In relief, Chris Cotton allowed a run for the first time in his last 11 relief appearances. Ace closer Nick Goody (1-2) blew the save and took the loss.

    2012 SEC Baseball Tournament
    Post-Game Notes
    Regions Park • Hoover, Ala.

    Game 13 • Friday, May 25
    (7) Mississippi State 4, (1) LSU 3

    POST-GAME NOTES


    •    LSU and Mississippi State took the game to the 13th extra-inning game in SEC Tournament history and the first since 2010 when LSU beat Alabama 4-3. It was Mississippi State’s first extra-inning game in the SEC Tournament since a 7-6 loss to Florida in 1996.
    •    The game was Mississippi State’s eighth extra-inning game of the season (4-4), while it was the Tigers’ seventh (4-3).
    •    Mississippi State improves to 37-22 this season and will play Kentucky tomorrow and noon in the first semifinal game. Top-seeded LSU is eliminated from the SEC Tournament with a record of 40-16; they await their destination for the NCAA Regionals.
    •    Today marked the 100th SEC Tournament game for Mississippi State. They are 55-45 all-time in the tournament.
    •    These two teams met for the second time in the 2012 tournament. Both games were one-run Bulldog victories as game six of the SEC Tournament saw Mississippi State take a 3-2 win. It was also the fifth meeting between the two teams this season; LSU swept the Bulldogs in the regular-season series.
    •    MSU’s Luis Pollorena drove in the game-tying run in the ninth with a sacrifice fly in only his fourth at-bat of the season. It was the first RBI of his career. He had entered the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning.
    •    The Bulldogs’ Matthew Britton came through with his first game-winning RBI of the year as he pushed the Bulldogs into the semifinals.
    •    Nick Goody of LSU looked to earn his 11th save of the season, but Mississippi State went for two in the ninth as Goody was charged with his second blown save of the year. It is his second blown save in the last three opportunities after starting the year 9-for-9.
    •    With a walk in the first inning, SS Austin Nola of LSU has now reached base safely in 15 straight games. Nola later came around to score his fifth run of the tournament, which leads the field in Hoover.
    •    LSU OF Mason Katz single in the first inning improved his hitting streak to nine games on the season. Katz later singled in the eighth for his 24th multi-hit game.
    •    A 2-RBI single from C Ty Ross of LSU gave him his ninth multi-RBI of the season and brought his RBI total to 39.
    •    Dating back to the final two innings in LSU’s game against Ole Miss, the Tigers scored in four consecutive innings, totaling 10 runs during that span.
    •    Mississippi State SS Adam Frazier singled in the third inning to improve his hitting streak to a team-high 10 games.  He later singled again in the fifth for his 28th multi-hit game of the year. His eight hits at the SEC Tournament leads the field and his 84th hit of the year moves him into a tie for third place in the SEC with Ryan Tella of Auburn.
    •    The Bulldogs turned their 64th and 65th double plays this season. They are currently No. 3 in the nation in that category. Mississippi State averages 1.1 double plays a game.
    •    Jacob Lindgren of Mississippi State got the first start of his young career. He went 4.2 innings while allowing three runs on five hits while striking out three.
    •    RP Caleb Reed of the Bulldogs came on in the fifth for his 29th appearance of the season and his 93rd career appearance for Mississippi State.
    •    SP Ryan Eades of LSU put together one of his best outings of his season as he went six complete innings while giving up no runs off four hits. It’s the first time he’s held an opponent scoreless since a Feb. 18 outing against Alcorn State and only the third time he has given up four hits or less, the last time coming on Feb. 25 against Appalachian State.
    •    LSU RP Chris Cotton came on for his SEC-leading 32nd appearance of the year and his third appearance at the SEC Tournament.
    •    Jordy Snickeris got the start at catcher for LSU after a 4-RBI day yesterday against Ole Miss in a pinch-hitting role. Snickeris came away with two hits today for his seventh multi-hit game and his second consecutive multi-hit game.
    •    Mississippi State 3B Darryl Norris picked up his 10th multi-hit game with singles in the third and ninth innings.
    •    Mississippi State RP Jonathan Holder made his third appearance of the season in the tenth, already having two saves so far in the SEC Tournament. He now has a win in the tournament; his second win of the season.

    Mississippi State Head Coach John Cohen
    Opening statement…

    “I thought that LSU came out and really executed. They did a really nice job of executing when runs were available. I thought [Tyler] Eades was kind of in and out of the zone. He has tremendous stuff. He is throwing up there in the 90’s. I thought our kids did a nice job with the strike zone. I felt like we were right at the edge all game of being able to put something together. To Eades’ credit, I thought that he did a nice job of pitching out of some trouble. We had some sequences when we did not swing the bat early on the way I know we can. Our kids stayed with it and showed great fortitude. Nobody in that dugout was going to give up. When you get behind 3-0 against a very good ball club it is easy to say, ‘Well, we have regionals next week, and we played well down the stretch.’ These kids did not have that attitude. They wanted to win the baseball game. They did whatever it took. When you are playing so many games you have to really look in their eyes and ask if they want to do it. Every one of these guys wants to do it. We are really proud of these guys. It is a great effort on their part.”

    Mitch Slauter (Jr., C)
    On Jacob Lindgren’s performance…

    “Jacob is a competitor. He didn’t have his best stuff early on; he was in and out of the zone.  He was out there competing and did a good job of minimizing. He gave us a good outing and battled his butt off.”

    Matthew Britton (Fr., PH)
    On his walk-off hit…

    “He threw me five straight curveballs so I was thinking fastball the whole time. He threw it and I got the bat to it. Right when I saw him dive my stomach kind of dropped, because I thought that he caught it. I just kept running till I saw that the ball got past him. I was pretty happy about that.”

    Caleb Reed (Sr., P)
    On his pitching performance…

    “I thought my fastball was probably as good as it has been all year. My slider was in and out. The good thing about me getting up in the second and third is that I know my body. I have done it for four years now, so I kind of know what I need to do. The key to me is to not sit there long enough to let my arm get tight. If I can get up and stay loose, not necessarily throwing the ball as hard as I can every time, then that is the key.”

    LSU Head Coach Paul Mainieri
    Opening statement:

    “Obviously, a very tough loss for us. You know, a big game, a game that you seemingly have in hand, and then you can’t hold the lead in the ninth inning, and unfortunately it just didn’t go our way. For a long time, we were very fortunate to be shutting them out. We made some tremendous defensive plays like (Raph) Rhymes on the line, the relay on the double by (Sam) Frost when we threw him out at the plate. One time they had runners on first and second with nobody out, we turned a double play to get out of that inning. I thought we were kind of living on the edge, which is pretty typical of Ryan Eades’ starts, quite frankly, but he always seems to get out of it. We made some really good defensive plays behind him. We got through six innings with him, and then Chris Cotton came in and gave us a beautiful seventh inning. The eighth inning was more of a struggle. He gave up the one run. We scored three runs early, and then our offense just kind of went into stall mode there. We were shutting them down so it didn’t seem to matter. Then in the ninth inning, they strung together some good at-bats off Nick (Goody), and we couldn’t hold the lead there. It’s a tough loss for us, but it’s also something we’ll rebound from. We have time to kind of regroup, analyze it. We’ll put it in the rear view mirror, and we’ll be ready for next week. Next week is what really matters going forward. I don’t mean to downplay the SEC Tournament. I’ve always believed it was important, and I’ve instilled that in our players. That’s why the loss hurts so bad because they wanted to win. Normally, when we come to Hoover, we win this tournament. It was tough loss for us, but we’ll put it behind us in time and get ready for next week.”

    Austin Nola (Sr., SS)
    On putting the loss behind them and moving forward for the NCAAs…

    “It’s a tough loss right now. We take it one game at a time. This is the last game. We’re going to analyze it like Coach said. We’re going to look at the things we need to get better at. We’re definitely going to get better. We’re going to grow from this. We’re going to learn. We’re going to move forward and look forward to the next thing.”

    On not getting any quality offensive production after the second inning…
    “As an offense, we just didn’t do enough. We had opportunities and we didn’t get the job done. We have to get better. We have to learn. Those situations, with the guys we have in our lineup, with the way we’ve been playing, I feel like we can do better and a good job. It just didn’t happen today. We’re going to learn from it and get better.”

    Ty Ross (So., DH)
    On Nick Goody’s relief effort…

    “I think most of the guys on our team can say that in a save situation, we want Nick Goody out there. He’s going to go out and give you the best he has. Today they were just jumping on his fastball. He wasn’t doing anything different. He was out there battling trying to get outs and mixing in that slider. Four out of five times, nine out of 10 times, he closes the game out. It was just one of those times.”