Pitching performances are Sunday's story

Cody Satterwhite didn't know he had thrown nine innings Sunday until afterward when someone told him, and Nathan Baker joked that he didn't even remember being in the game at all. MSU, on the other hand, will have a hard time forgetting the more than four hours of frustration supplied by the Rebel pair.

The Bulldogs avoided the sweep by breaking a 1-1 deadlock in the 17th inning off ineffective reliever Scott Bittle, but Baker and Satterwhite each emphatically answered different questions as Ole Miss gears up for the stretch SEC run.

Baker (5-1) faced his first bit of adversity this season on April 22 when South Carolina chased him after only one inning of work. But the freshman displayed mental fortitude Sunday by limiting State to one run in seven innings of work. MSU struck for its lone run in regulation during the first inning, but Baker went into shutdown mode following the setback, striking out five and putting up zeros the rest of the way.

"Last week shattered me I guess," Baker said. "It was a welcome to the SEC outing, but I felt good and relaxed today. It was a complete difference compared to last week.

"I got a little rattled when Jeffrey Rea got that hit in the first inning, but I settled down after that and pitched."

It is the third splendid weekend outing for Baker, who has provided stability to the Sunday portion of the rotation. He gives the Rebels a formidable left-hander to finish up series, thus allowing southpaws Craig Rodriguez and Brett Bukvich to help in shoring up the Ole Miss bullpen.

"Baker was just tremendous," head coach Mike Bianco said. "He bounced back after last weekend."

Meanwhile, Satterwhite's previously injured right arm held up to the strain of 109 pitches and nine innings as the sophomore completely smothered the Bulldog bats in a pressure packed relief outing.

Satterwhite allowed a paltry three hits and struck out four but said that the goal was more to use his defense than to overpower MSU.

"I tried to pump the zone with strikes," Satterwhite said. "I was trying to make them hit the ball more so than trying to strike anyone out because it was a long game. I tried to get ahead and let the defense handle it."

Even with the different mindset from his usual short-stint save situations, the radar gun routinely lit up readings of 95 and 96 throughout most of the nine innings. The high velocity helps suppress any grumblings as to the extended outing being a detriment to the continued healing of Satterwhite's arm. The right-hander insists that treatment is complete, and the arm is 100 percent.

"My arm feels good, and it is healthy," Satterwhite said. "I am able to throw on back to back days and for long periods of time. It is fine, and I'll be ready the next time."

Rest time may be the one drawback, but hopefully he will be recuperated for Friday at Tennessee if needed. Satterwhite has embraced the role of closer and been virtually concrete when called on during conference play. The Jackson native has a 0.96 SEC ERA in 10 appearances.

For the most part, Satterwhite's mound time has been no more than an inning or two, but that could be increased now that no worries are present regarding the early-season injury.

"We have him as a closer, but not because he can only throw a couple innings," Bianco said. "There is faith in him to come in during the seventh or maybe even the sixth to finish a game off and hold a lead."

Satterwhite's shoulder flared up during the offseason, which caused him to miss the first eight games of the season. He was eased back into work and took over the full-time closer spot after Bittle began a downward spiral in league play.

"Satterwhite, you can't ask for much more than he did," Bianco said about Sunday. "We knew he was capable of that."

Capable is correct when referring to Baker and Satterwhite. They highlighted that even in a loss.

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