Mississippi State University designated hitter Trey Porter started the Bulldogs rally with a two-run home run in a 5-4 victory over the University of Connecticut Friday. Photo by: Courtesy of MSU athletics
March 2, 2012 8:42:00 PM
STARKVILLE - Mississippi State flipped the script on what happened earlier in the win during a loss against the University of Memphis.
A five-run comeback over the final three innings provided a new and exciting ending for the Mississippi State University baseball team in a dramatic 5-4 comeback victory over the University of Connecticut.
The game, which was scheduled for 2:30 p.m., went through a 42-minute rain delay before both teams were allowed to take the field for action. Similarly to the two hour, 48 minute rain delay, which caused MSU (7-2) to come out flat in all phases of the game in a 7-6 loss versus the University of Memphis Wednesday, the Bulldogs did not respond to sitting around and watching rain drops again as by managing just three hits and six base runners over the first six innings of play.
MSU cleanup hitter Trey Porter, the walk-on from Gulport, had the 1,036 fans in attendance at Polk-Dement Stadium believing a comeback was possible when he sent his third home run of the season barely over the right field wall and just beyond the outstretched reach of Huskies outfielder Ryan Moore. It would represent Porter's only hit of the game and in an at-bat where the MSU coaching staff wasn't sure he return to the game after fouling a ball hard off his shin.
"It really swelled up bad and our trainer is telling us 'I don't know if he can get around the bases' so he pulls a Kirk Gibson so he didn't really have to," Cohen said. "He could've crawled around them if need be."
Porter took a 0-2 changeup from UConn senior reliever David Fischer to cut the deficit to 4-3 in the eighth inning.
In the ninth inning, MSU middle infielders Matthew Britton and Adam Frazier scored on an errant throw to home plate by UConn shortstop Tom Verdi with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Britton was going on contact in what Cohen calls a 'down-angle' play and when Verdi's hurried throw squirted between the legs of Huskies catcher Joe Pavone.
Verdi went from the hero to the goat of the game as the sophomore cranked a high fastball from MSU pitcher Chris Stratton over the left field wall for a three-run home run to give UConn its first lead of the game.
Despite the slow start offensively, MSU managed to put eight of its final 13 batters reach base to beat a school that was a Super Regional participant last year before being eliminated at the University of South Carolina.
"I think we have a ways to go offensively as a young positional unit," Cohen said. "Right now we're finding ways to win."
Mississipppi State (7-2) 5,
Connecticut (4-5) 4
W - Chris Stratton (3-0) 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 9 K in 87 pitches
L - David Fischer (0-2) 2.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, ER, 0 BB, 2 K in 44 pitches
Most Valuable Player: Mississippi State pitcher Chris Stratton - Stratton (3-0) worked the final six innings, allowing seven hits and four runs (all earned), with a season-best nine strikeouts.
"I got a couple of pitches up there and you can't do that against a team that likes to swing the sticks," Stratton said. "They are aggressive and I made a couple of mistakes. After that, I tried to throw strikes and like my defense make plays. I was real happy we were able to find a way to get some runs and get the win."
Mississippi State designated hitter Trey Porter - In the eighth inning, Husky reliever David Fischer (0-2) was touched for a two-run home run by Trey Porter. The first of UConn's three errors preceded Porter's third round-tripper of the year.
"I didn't think it was out," Porter said. "I tried to get good barrel on it. We are struggling to score runs right now, but our pitching has been dominating. We will get some things together and once we start scoring some runs, we can be a pretty good team."
Turning Point: Ninth inning - Both Matthew Britton and Adam Frazier scored on an errant throw to plate by UConn shortstop Tom Verdi with one out in the bottom of the ninth on a ground ball hit in the hole by MSU catcher Mitch Slauter
Next game: Saturday, 11 a.m. vs. Lipscomb University; 2 p.m. vs. Connecticut
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.
5. Ho ho ho -- Downtown Open House heralds the holidays ENTERTAINMENT