By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
Highlights | Box Score
HOOVER, Ala. – Mississippi State’s Mitch Slauter drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 17th inning early Wednesday morning to lead the fifth-seeded Bulldogs to a thrilling 2-1 win against 12th-seeded Missouri in the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
The Bulldogs (41-16) advance to play fourth-seeded South Carolina (39-16) in the fourth game on Wednesday at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
Will Cox, the sixth and final Mississippi State pitcher to see action in the game, picked up the win, working 3.0 innings in relief, giving up one hit and striking out two in 10 batters faced.
Missouri struck first in the third inning as Brannon Champagne singled up the middle with one out, advanced to both second and third on wild pitches and scored on an error.
Mississippi State evened things up in the bottom of the fifth as Derrick Armstrong singled up the middle and was later driven in by Hunter Renfroe.
In the bottom of the 17th inning, Wes Rea walked to open the inning and Kyle Hann came in to pinch run. He was driven in by Slauter’s two-out RBI single.
Missouri (18-32) was eliminated from the tournament as part of a new 12-team format that features a single-elimination opening day.
2013 SEC Baseball Tournament
Game 4 – Tuesday, May 21 – 7:45 p.m.
#5 Mississippi State vs. #12 Missouri
Mississippi State Postgame Quotes
Head Coach John Cohen
On today’s game and playing almost the entire roster
“This is a game of opportunity and I thought some guys really made the most of the opportunity, especially Cox; he did a great job for us tonight. Really, our offense was nonexistent, we had a ton of fly balls, a ton of swing-and-miss and their left-hander (Rob Zystryzny) was fabulous; the right-hander they brought in was outstanding (Keaton Steele); they can really pitch. We’ll all probably know (Zystryzny’s) name when he pitches in the big leagues, he’s really good. “I thought our kids battle and these are the kinds of wins that you can say will catapult you when you reach NCAA play.”
On using six pitchers
“We did not want to have to use all these guys today, but they wanted to pitch and if we don’t win the game, they’re not going to pitch for a while so they needed to get out there. They came out and did a great job for us.”
On what it’s like to manage for 17 innings
“It’s probably like covering it for the media. There’s probably 20 different ways we could have won the game, and they probably think the same way.”
On the game-winning single
“On top of coming back from a broken hand, it makes it difficult to swing. Even when you hit balls hard, I hit one early in the game. When they don’t fall, it can get frustrating.”
On the dugout during the game
“We were trying to get on a roll and get rhythm. We did our pregame chant in the 14th or 15th inning. We were just doing anything we could to try and spark that run.”
“I got in and just tried to do my job. I tried to the team back in the dugout as fast as I could. That was my game plan.”
On pitching well after struggling earlier in the year
“It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been really working on that drop down slot, being able to get beneath righties and still be over the top against lefties. You can’t say enough about the outstanding defensive plays that we made throughout 17 innings. It just compliments how good our defense is.”
Missouri Postgame Quotes
Coach Tim Jamieson
On team’s pitching
“I couldn’t have asked for a better game. It’s been a microcosm of this year. I thought Mississippi State did great on the mound, but at the same time we held our own as well.”
On team’s defense
“We didn’t make many errors and we made big plays. I’m proud of the way my guys competed. This hasn’t been a great year, but we’re going home and starting over.”
On Rob Zastryzny
“I thought he was focused tonight and on a mission. This is about as well as he’s been all year. He’s a guy I believe will be pitching in the Major League. He has the talent and competitiveness. He’s had more ball command and has made fewer mistakes. He’ll make a big mistake rarely and that’s why his ERA is where it is, but tonight he made no mistakes.”
On playing in the SEC
“There were no surprises for me. I was just reaffirmed on how good the teams are. There isn’t much difference in pitching between the Big 12 and the SEC, but the benches are deeper. Also, we have a 10 week schedule as opposed to an eight week schedule.”