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Bradford's hit lifts MSU past Missouri in opener

 

From Special Reports

 

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- It was a Good Friday for the No. 24 Mississippi State baseball team. 

 

An RBI single by C.T. Bradford lifted MSU to a 3-2, 11-inning victory against Missouri in the opening game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Taylor Stadium. 

 

In its first meeting as conference foes, MSU beat Missouri 2-1 in 17 innings last season at the Southeastern Conference tournament. The rematch ended a little sooner, as Seth Heck doubled and scored when Bradford dribbled a single into right field with two outs. 

 

"Our first 15 or so at-bats, I was pleased with the hard contact we were having," MSU coach John Cohen said. "We did a great job with our hit-and-run segments. Jonathan Holder threw 82 pitches tonight, and he was a warrior. We had to have him tonight to give us a chance to win the game." 

 

MSU improved to 24-15 and 8-8 in the SEC, while Missouri fell to 17-19 and 6-10. MSU won a Friday night conference road game for the first time since April 12, 2013 at Texas A&M. The Bulldogs won the opening game in a conference series for only the second time this season. 

 

Holder (4-1) allowed three hits in 5 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. He struck out six and walked two in an 82-pitch effort in relief of starter Trevor Fitts (2 2/3 innings) and Jacob Lindgren (three innings). 

 

Missouri built a 1-0 lead in the third when Kendall Keeton had a sacrifice fly after back-to-back hits. 

 

MSU battled back for a 2-1 lead with two runs in the fourth. Brett Pirtle started things with a one-out single. Heck followed with a single. After a groundout advanced both runners, Gavin Collins followed with a two-run double. 

 

"I think Gavin may have been the unsung hero in this game," Cohen said. "He had two hits and drove in two of the three runs. I think he only had one passed ball, and he did a great job of helping our pitches really execute." 

 

Missouri tied the contest in the sixth, when Lindgren walked a pair and wild pitched home a run. Holder closed the door with a strikeout and the bases loaded. 

 

MSU had nine hits. Bradford had three hits, while Collins and Heck each had two. 

 

Missouri had seven hits, made the game's only error, and stranded 12 runners. Eric Anderson, Josh Lester, and Logan Pearson each had two hits. Keaton Steele (0-6) took the loss.

 

 

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