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Post-game at Dudy Noble Field: MSU 6, Washington State 2 - Bulldogs win eighth straight season opener


Mississippi State sophomore Daryl Norris led the Bulldogs offense with a 3-for-4 night at the plate in MSU's 6-2 victory over Washington State

Mississippi State sophomore Daryl Norris led the Bulldogs offense with a 3-for-4 night at the plate in MSU's 6-2 victory over Washington State Photo by: Courtesy of Mississippi State athletics


Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE - Mississippi State opened the season with its ninth consecutive opening day victory by defeating Washington State University 6-2 Friday night thanks to everybody in the newly revamped Bulldogs order getting a hit or walk in the victory. 


"We have some beef and we have some runners and it's just a nice recipe," Cohen said. "This is what we kind of envisioned when we put this together. We really believe in these kids but it's just a matter of how much they get experience." 


The MSU batter order, which featured six new starters Friday night, produced 13 hits and went 7-for-15 with two outs against a combination of six different Cougars (0-1) pitchers.  


The concern heading into the 2012 baseball campaign in Starkville was the new-look MSU hitters. 


Those fears were quickly put a more of an ease during an opening night 6-2 victory over Washington State University in front of 3,449 at Dudy Noble Field Friday evening. 


The four MSU hitters who had never had a Division 1 college at-bat before Friday (Trey Porter, Mitch Slauter, Wes Rea and Matthew Britton) were a combined 3-for-10 with two RBIs and two runs scored against six different Cougars pitchers. Each of the four position players, who MSU coaches expect to be a contributing factor all season, had a a hit or a walk in the victory. 


"A whole bunch of guys got a bunch of first hits not just in the season but in their careers," MSU coach John Cohen said. "We have a long way to go but we really believe in these young kids." 


Sophomore third baseman Daryl Norris tied a career-high with three hits in four at-bats and was one of seven of MSU (1-0) starters to earned a hit. 


"I think the strength of this team is we got guys that can hit up and down this lineup," Norris said.  


Ben Bracewell's comeback from labrum surgery was completed with the opening day start as the right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery to correct a labrum tear in his pitching arm that kept up out of last season. 


In his first ever college start, Bracewell struck out five in 4 1/3 innings and 58 pitches of work. The right-hander from Birmingham worked through the minimum in the first two innings but allowed two runs with only one of them earned through the second time through the 


Washington State batting order Friday night. 


Junior right-hander Chris Stratton (1-0) was able to mow down Washington State hitters Friday to earn the victory by going four innings in just 39 pitches. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder, who fashioned a 1-1 record with a 2.18 ERA pitching for the 2011 Cape Cod League champion Harwich (Mass.) Mariners, has worked in the summer and the fall at not elevating the fastball and getting first-pitch strikes. 


"All of our guys did a really job of attacking the strike zone tonight," Cohen said. " 




Mississippi State (1-0) 6,  


Washington State (0-2) 2 




W - Chris Stratton (1-0) 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 5 K, BB in 58 pitches. 




L - J.D. Leckeby (0-1) 4 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 K, 1 BB in 80 pitches. 




Most Valuable Player: Sophomore 3B Daryl Norris - The Fairhope, Ala., native went 3-for-4 with a double including an RBI and a run scored in the 2012 opening night game at Dudy Noble Field.  


"We all want to come out here with a good performance and a win," Norris said. "The lineup was really good tonight with a lot off guys not trying to do too much in order to get the job done." 




Turning Point: 2nd inning - The Bulldogs struck first off Washington State starting pitcher J.D. Leckenby with a three-run second thanks to a Taylor Stark RBI single and two sac fly RBI from redshirt freshman Wes Rea and freshman Matthew Britton. 




Next game: Saturday, 2:30 p.m. vs. Washington State 




All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage. 




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