MSU Defeats UConn 3-1

Mississippi State struck early, scoring two runs in the bottom of the second, and held on with solid pitching from Nick Routt, Evan Mitchell and Caleb Reed, to defeat the University of Connecticut 3-1.

"We pitched really well," said MSU head baseball coach John Cohen. "That's the strength of our ballclub."

After both teams failed to score in the 1st inning, Mississippi State struck for two runs in the bottom of the second. Demarcus Henderson and Mitch Slauter both had infield singles to start the inning. Both moved over to second and third on a groundout by Taylor Stark. With two outs, C.T. Bradford knocked in both runners with a single up the middle.

MSU starting pitcher Nick Routt was rolling along until the fourth inning when Connecticut struck for one with an RBI-double by Ryan Fuller. Hunter Renfroe, on a strong throw from left field, threw out a runner at home, preventing a second runner from scoring in the inning.

"That throw (by Renfroe) was big," said Cohen. "But I also think Renfroe made two outstanding plays on fly balls that were lined and might have been out on any other day. He is just a spectacular athlete. He can throw the ball 100 miles per hour from the outfield, he can run down fly balls, he can get key hits for you. We just have to continue to cultivate what Hunter can do."

Mississippi State added an insurance run in the sixth inning. Henderson led off the inning with a single to right field, his third hit of the game. After the next two hitters flew out, Henderson stole second, his second steal of the game. Sam Frost singled up the middle, knocking in Henderson.

"That single by Frost was big and he really needed that for different reasons and he got it," said Cohen. "Nobody works harder on our club than Sam Frost, so it's good to see him get rewarded on occasion."

Connecticut threaten in the 7th inning. The first UConn batter reached base on an error by the second baseman. MSU replaced Routt with Evan Mitchell. Mitchell struck out Joe Pavone on a 1-2 count for the first out. Mike Friel was then hit by a pitch, putting men on first and second with one our. Ryan Moore struck out on an 0-2 count but the ball got away from the MSU catcher for a passed ball. Mitchell walked Eric Yavarone to load the bases but then got Billy Ferriter to grounded out to first base to end the inning.

Evan Mitchell pitched a solid eighth inning to keep the score at 3-1 going into the ninth. Mississippi State brought in Caleb Reed to pitch the 9th inning. After giving up a single, Reed got out of the inning with no runs scoring to earn his second save of the season.

UConn was led at the plate by Ryan Fuller, who was 3-for-4 with an RBI. He was the only Connecticut player with more than one hit.

Mississippi State had two players with multi-hit games - Adam Frazier and Demarcus Henderson, both of whom were 3-for-4. Henderson also scored two runs and stole two bases, his third and fourth stolen bases of the season.

""It was great to see Henderson step forward and get some great hits today because we are going to need him," said Cohen. "As a redshirt freshman he is starting to figure some things out.

"And Adam is a gamer. You never feel like he is not going to take a good swing."

Anthony Marzi, who gave up 3 runs in 6 innings, took the loss for the Huskies.

Nick Routt threw 6.0 innings, allowing 1 run (unearned) on 4 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 3. He threw just 79 pitches in his outing. Mitchell threw 2 innings, allowing no runs on 1 hit and 1 walk to go along with his 4 strikeouts. Reed allowed no runs, on 1 hit and no walks while striking out 1.

"Nick came out today and had just quality stuff," said Cohen. "Then you put Evan behind him with that curveball (and it was a tough adjustment for hitters). I don't know how many strikeouts we had but I know they had weak contact with the bats."

With the win, Mississippi State's record improves to 9-2 while Connecticut's record falls to 3-6.

Both teams play Lipscomb Sunday with Connecticut and Lipscomb playing at 11 am and Mississippi State and Lipscomb playing at 2:30 pm.

Mississippi State is expected to start freshman Will Cox and possibly have another freshman, Brandon Woodruff, in relief.


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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