April 19, 2014 11:08:48 PM
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Mississippi State junior left-hander Ross Mitchell delivered again Saturday for the No. 24 Mississippi State baseball team.
With Mitchell throwing his third complete game in six career starts, MSU defeated Missouri 6-2 to clinch a weekend Southeastern Conference series at Taylor Stadium.
MSU improved to 25-15 and 9-8 in the SEC, while Missouri fell to 17-20 and 6-11. The Bulldogs won a conference series for the fourth time in six tries this season. They have won two of their first three road series for the first time since 2007. MSU will try for its first sweep of the season at 1 p.m. today. MSU hasn't named a starter for the finale.
Senior right-hander Ben Bracewell (2-3, 2.80 ERA) and junior right-hander Brandon Woodruff (1-2, 5.81) are candidates. Missouri is scheduled to start senior right-hander Eric Anderson (2-2, 3.15).
"We spent the bullpen yesterday (in a 3-2, 11-inning win)," MSU coach John Cohen said. "Ross was phenomenal. We didn't make a couple of plays behind him. He helped his cause by making a couple of really great defensive plays.
"We really needed another day of rest for (Jacob) Lindgren and (Jonathan) Holder, so Ross's performance was really big."
Mitchell (6-3) allowed seven hits and two earned runs in his 142-pitch effort. Mitchell struck out three, walked two, and faced 38 batters.
Redshirt freshman outfielder Cody Brown had a career-high four hits with two RBIs. Brown had a double and triple in the leadoff spot.
"Cody has worked so hard at it," Cohen said. "He is attacking the baseball. He has a short, quick swing. We were watching film with this morning and he made a couple of adjustments in the game. On a good club, somebody different steps up each night. Today was the day he stepped up and really carried us."
Despite a hitless night in the series opener, Brown has hit safely in four of his last five games.
The Bulldogs struck two pitches into the game. Brown led off with a triple and scored on a ground out by Alex Detz.
Missouri answered in the third on an RBI single by Brett Peel.
Each team scored in the fifth. Derrick Armstrong started things by reaching on Missouri's only error. After a sacrifice bunt, Brown brought Matthew Britton, who reached on a fielder's choice, home with a single.
Missouri bunched together two singles and a wild pitch to tie the game in its at-bat. The Tigers threatened again an inning later, but Mitchell worked out of a bases-loaded jam.
MSU surged ahead with three runs in the seventh. Gavin Collins singled and Jake Vickerson walked. An intentional walk to Britton loaded the bases. Brown brought home Collins with a single. Bases-loaded walks to Detz and Seth Heck forced in two more scores.
MSU tacked on an insurance score in the ninth. Britton was hit by a pitch and Brown doubled to right field. A groundout by Pirtle brought home Britton with the game's final run.
Each team had seven hits. Ryan Howard and Jake Ring each had two hits for Missouri and joined Brown as the only multiple hitters in the game.
Missouri starter John Miles (2-5) allowed five hits and four runs (three earned) in 6 1/3 innings.
"This ballpark plays really big, and that really helps us a team," Cohen said. "A lot of people look at whether you win a series or win three games. Winning a series is a good thing. However, the final game of this series is very important to us. We need to win games, and it does not matter the opponent or which day or where we stand in a series. We need wins."
1. MSU vs. Southern Mississippi: Five Things to Watch COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Oak HIll Academy looks to stop skid in series with Heritage Academy HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Game of Week: Starkville, West Point renew HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. New Hope looks for continued improvement against Columbus HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Clark helps MSU's operations running smoothly COLLEGE SPORTS