FILE - Adam Frazier had a career-high four hits in a 6-3 victory over Mississippi Valley State Tuesday night. Photo by: MSU athletics
May 8, 2012 11:02:52 PM
STARKVILLE - Without their fourth-year head coach Tuesday night, the Mississippi State University dugout used the groupthink approach to a victory.
The Bulldogs were without the services of John Cohen due to him serving an NCAA-mandated one-game suspension Tuesday night after receiving a post-game ejection following Sunday's series finale at Alabama.
The 6-3 victory over Mississippi Valley State University, the 23rd straight win over the instate opponent, included runs in the first and seventh inning to give the 25th-ranked Bulldogs (30-18) enough cushion.
Tuesday night marked the third time the Bulldogs program have been without Cohen in the dugout due to a mandated suspension since he took the job at his alma mater in Starkville.
"Jeff (Head) the home plate umpire came over to us after the game and asked 'so are you 1-0 now?' and I told him 'well, we've had to do a couple times in four years here," MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson said.
The overall group effort among the active coaches included Thompson handling the changes on the mound, of which their were three. MSU hitting and defensive substitutions, of which their were two, were handled by third base coach Lane Burroughs.
"Absolutely that was 100 percent the plan for tonight because we're all friends and I trust their judgment on those types of moves without Coach Cohen being here tonight," Thompson said.
MSU got a career effort from sophomore shortstop Adam Frazier at the plate as the Bulldogs leadoff hitter went 4-for-5 with an RBI and run scored. The Bishop Ga., native upped his team-high batting average to .349 with his first four-hit performance in his college career.
"We didn't have (Coach Cohen) yelling at us because we expect him to do that in games like this so yeah, that was odd," Frazier said. "What I thought was good was everybody kept that energy level up on their own tonight."
Taylor Stark, a sophomore who had not been allowed to bat or play the field since severely injuring his hamstring in the first week of March, got MSU its first big hit of the evening with a two-run triple to right-center field making it 3-0 Bulldogs after the first frame.
After a 34-minute rain delay, some concerns arose in pre-game over allowing Stark to make the start in left field on a extremely wet outfield but the Flowood native made a pair of impressive defensive catches to calm any fears about his lingering injury issues.
"I can't speak for everybody but I was (concerned)," Thompson said. "He made back to back and ran around really well tonight so I was impressed."
MVSU (14-36) got three runs on the scoreboard thanks to spotty defensive play by the Bulldogs and the inability of starting pitcher Will Cox to keep his fastball down in crucial at-bats. Cox had not seen action in over a month and the lack of work caused the freshman's ineffectiveness.
In a game where Thompson wanted to get a view of some freshman arms, left-handed Ross Mitchell impressed his pitching coach by allowing just one hit over 4 2/3 innings to earn the first victory of his college career.
"I was just trying to get the game moving," Mitchell said in between two shaving crème pies in the face after the game. "I really just threw straight fastballs and maybe threw just six off speed pitches all night."
Jacob Lindgren, a 12th-round selection by the Chicago Cubs in last year's draft, earned his first college save by throwing a pair of perfect innings.
Matthew Britton, a freshman who came into the game hitting just .136, broke the 3-3 tie in the seventh inning with an RBI-single to center field. Britton's infield double play partner provided the final blow with a RBI-single to give MSU its 6-3 margin.
MSU makes a return to Southeastern Conference play at sixth-ranked Florida this weekend in a rematch of last year's Gainesville Super Regional. The two meet at 6 p.m., Friday, 6 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.
Mississippi State (30-18) 6,
Mississippi Valley State (14-36) 3.
W - Ross Mitchell (1-0) 4.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K in 52 pitches
L - David Lostra (3-9) 6.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 BB, 4 K in 128 pitches
S - Jacob Lindgren (1) 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, K in 23 pitches
MVP: Adam Frazier - Sophomore shortstop recorded his first four-hit game and upped his team-high batting average to .349.
Turning point: 7th inning - In the MSU seventh inning, Mitch Slauter reached as a hit batsman to open the door. After a sacrifice bunt and strikeout, Taylor Stark followed with a single. Matthew Britton broke the tie with an RBI-single to center field. Sam Frost walked in a run and then Frazier singled in the final run of the game.
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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