February 24, 2013 9:24:41 AM
STARKVILLE - The Mississippi State University baseball program exacted a tiny bit of revenge Saturday afternoon thanks to a soft tossing left-handed pitcher and the afternoon shadows of Dudy Noble Field.
Ross Mitchell (2-0), a junior that doesn't register on a radar gun over 88 miles-per-hour, completed six innings of four-hit relief in a 8-2 win against Samford University that included four strikeouts and 76 pitches. Samford, the team that defeated MSU (7-0) twice in the 2012 Tallahassee Regional to end their season, were unable to have the same power success in the much bigger ballpark in Starkville in the beginning of the Diamond Classic at Dudy Noble Field.
In three appearances this season Mitchell has allowed just one earned run in 7 1/3 innings after being a quality long relief option last year out of what was a shortened sustainable bullpen from the left side.
"When you're facing an aggressive team like Samford and you throw at them Ross Mitchell with that sink in the shadows at Dudy Noble Field, we like that matchup," Cohen said. "I know from scrimmages our guys hate facing Ross Mitchell at 3 or 4 p.m. because of the ballpark shadows."
Samford (4-3) defeated MSU 5-0 and 3-2 in the NCAA Regional last season hosted by Florida State University thanks to mostly the home run ball that was not as kind in the large outfield of Dudy Noble Field.
All nine starters in the MSU batting order hit safely. Hunter Renfroe, a nominee of the Golden Spikes Award watch list, drove in two runs in the game and extended his season-opening hitting streak to seven games with a solo home run to left field in the fourth inning. The home run was Renfroe's second in as many days on another 2-0 fastball to give the Bulldogs a comfortable 7-1 advantage.
"He left it up and that's what I was waiting on," Renfroe said. "I was ready for something down and over the plate. We wanted to put it on (Samford) like that after the way they beat us in Florida last year so I hope we do it tomorrow as well."
Samford ace C.K. Irby (1-1) took the loss in a disappointing outing that included six runs on seven hits and managed to get just six outs during the day. Irby's little brother, Glenn, is committed to MSU's 2014 recruiting class as a left-handed pitcher from Mars Hill Bible School in Florence, Ala. Glenn Irby was a 2012 Perfect Game Honorable Mention Underclassmen All-America selection and was already recorded with a 90 mile-per-hour fastball last October.
MSU and Samford are set to meet again Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the Diamond Classic finale at Dudy Noble Field.
Junior shortstop Adam Frazier collected a game-high three hits on the day - his second three-hit day of the 2013 season. Frazier, on the initial watch list for the 2013 Golden Spikes Award, tripled and scored a run during MSU's three-run first inning and added to his team-leading hits total to 13 with a pair of singles.
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. Summer musical promises 'magical' entertainment ENTERTAINMENT