Mississippi State junior Chris Stratton earned national and conference honors Monday after 17 Ks at LSU this past weekend. Photo by: Courtesy of MSU athletics
March 19, 2012 1:38:45 PM
STARKVILLE -- After one of the most dominant pitching performances in Mississippi State University baseball history, Chris Stratton was presented with conference and national honors Monday.
Stratton, a junior right-handed pitcher, was named the Louisville Slugger National player of the week after allowed four hits in 8.2 innings of work while striking out a career-high 17 batters. Matched with LSU pitching ace Kevin Gausman, Stratton struck out all nine starters in the Tigers lineup, fanned two Tiger batters three times each and recorded a trio of three-strikeout innings. His 17 strikeouts is the most by a Bulldog pitcher since 1992.
"The nea tthing for Chris is that we are so happy for him," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "He fought his rear end off. He was surrounded by a bunch of guys who haven't been in this position before. If you add up our nine starters tonight, we had 17 games of conference experience on the field."
Stratton held LSU to .138 hitting in the game. At one stretch he retired 16 consecutive batters, 11 via strikeout. Stratton leads the SEC with 44 strikeouts and the team with 29.2 innings pitched. Stratton is currently 4-0 with a 2.12 earned run average this season.
"What's crazy is I remember looking up at their scoreboard where they track their guy's stats and said 'dang (Gausman) has a lot of strikeouts,'" Stratton said in a phone interview Monday. "I had no idea how many I did. I just remember thinking from about the fourth inning to the eighth that this game was really moving quick."
Stratton, a Tupelo native, left the contest in a 1-1 tie. After Mitch Slauter hit a solo home run (his first) in the top half of the 10th inning, the Bulldogs were poised to win. Instead, LSU rallied to hand MSU what was its fourth one-run defeat of the season. Stratton recorded the most strikeouts for a Bulldog pitcher since B.J. Wallace recorded19 in a regional tournament game in 1992.
The Dispatch will have a feature on Stratton's past, present and future with MSU's pitching rotation in Tuesday's edition.
"(Friday night) was a huge step forward for Chris," Cohen said Sunday. "We'll need nine more of those performances somewhere close to that. I don't think you can duplicate 17 punchouts in one of the greatest pitching performances of this season anywhere and at Mississippi State University."
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.
2. The beat goes on at 'Unplugged 3' this week ENTERTAINMENT
3. CCT youth: Come on in, meet 'Mississippi Characters' ENTERTAINMENT