March 8, 2014 11:15:35 PM
MSU ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS
TUCSON, Ariz. - A much improved offensive effort could still not lead to victory Saturday afternoon for the Mississippi State baseball team.
The Bulldogs collected nine hits and had a flurry of scoring chances later.
However, Cal Santa Barbara (9-1) made a two-run fourth inning stand up as the Gauchos held off the Bulldogs 7-6 during the second day of the Hi Corbett Classic.
MSU (11-7) will attempt to avoid a four-game weekend sweep in the three-day event when it returns to the diamond for a 7 p.m. CT start against Arizona Sunday.
The Bulldogs started the scoring early Saturday. Jake Vickerson led the contest off with a double. After taking third on an error, Vickerson scored on a sacrifice fly by Alex Detz.
After UCSB touched MSU starter Trevor Fitts for a pair of scores, the Bulldogs answer with a game-tying run in the second inning. Seth Heck and Cody Brown each had hits in the at-bat with Heck later scoring on a balk call.
Fitts was lifted in the third inning and things got a little hairy when Ross Mitchell came into pitch. Mitchell wild pitched the go-ahead run home and later walked in another run. In between, Robby Nesovic had an RBI-single. Mitchell worked out of that tight spot as the Gauchos left the bases loaded.
MSU came back to the contest at 5-5 with three runs in the fourth inning. Brett Pirtle started things with a single and Heck reached as a hit batsman. C.T. Bradford followed with a two-run triple and scored on a sacrifice-fly by Cody Brown.
The Gauchos reached Mitchell for two runs on four hits in the fourth inning. The junior left-hander suffered his first career loss after 18 straight wins. Mitchell (2-1) did complete the contest by throwing the final 5.2 innings, allowing only one hit after the fourth inning.
From there, the Bulldogs tried to rally but managed only a lone score in the sixth inning on a single by Brown and sacrifice-fly by Gavin Collins. The Bulldogs stranded two runners in the eighth inning but were retired in order in the ninth inning.
Vickerson and Brown had multiple hits for the Bulldogs. Wes Rea also reached base safely in the 17th game of 18 played this season. The Bulldogs saw a string of 71.2 innings of errorless ball snapped in the second inning and committed two in the contest.
UCSB had two hits from Joey Epperson, Woody Woodard, Cameron Newell and Nesovic. Cameron Cuneo (1-0) earned the win in relief, as the Gauchos won their eighth straight.
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