State Picks Up 8-3 Midweek Win Over Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Mississippi State dialed long distance to knock off Memphis 8-3 in the final non-conference baseball game of the 2011 regular season played Tuesday night at AutoZone Park. The Bulldogs used a solo home run from Jarrod Parks and a two-run home run from Nick Vickerson to break open a tight game. Vickerson's sixth-inning blast helped the Bulldogs build on a 4-3 lead.

With the victory, MSU improves to 33-19. The Bulldogs now stand at 9-1 in the month of May. The Bulldogs finish the non-conference campaign with a 20-5 mark. It was also MSU's 21st errorless game of the season. Conference-USA rival Memphis drops to 27-24.

"We played solid defense tonight," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "We would have liked to put some more runs on the board early. However, we kept battling and eventually came up with some timely hits. This was a real big road win for us. It helps us get ready for a critical weekend."

Evan Mitchell (5-1) sparkled in relief for the Maroon and White. Mitchell had his longest relief stint of the season - 4.1 innings in length. During that time, Mitchell struck out a season-best 11 Tigers. It was the second highest strikeout total for an MSU pitcher this year. Mitchell allowed four hits and no runs.

"I just wanted to come in and throw strikes," Mitchell said. "Coming with runners on base, I just wanted to get that out. After getting that first out, it was a matter of throwing strikes as I could. The game went my way with the strikeouts."

Kendall Graveman also pitched well in his normal Tuesday night starter's role. Graveman was staked to a 4-0 lead; however, he left with a 4-3 lead and two outs in the fifth inning - falling one out shy of being eligible for a decision.

"Kendall was really solid for us," Cohen said. "He did exactly what we wanted him to do. Evan had a great, great night. He had good velocity and movement on his fastball."

The Bulldogs built struck first with three runs in the second inning. A pair of walks to Brent Brownlee and Jonathan Ogden started the big inning. Wes Thigpen followed with an RBI-single. C.T. Bradford followed with an RBI-double. A wild pitch eventually scored Thigpen.

The lead grew to 4-0 on Parks' no-doubter off the grass hill beyond the left field wall. For the MSU third baseman, it was his third round-tripper of the year.

Memphis scored in the home half of the fourth inning and chased Graveman with an RBI-double by Chad Zurcher and RBI-single by T.J. Rich an inning later.

From there, Mitchell had things on cruise control as he faced 18 batters and threw 69 pitches.

Vickerson also topped the field wall in the sixth inning for his fifth round-tripper. The Maroon and White also tallied insurance scores in the seventh and ninth innings.

The Bulldogs finished with nine hits. Thigpen had three of those hits. Parks reached base five times, including drawing four of his team's 11 walks.

Memphis finished with 12 hits. Zurcher had three hits, while Phillip Chapman and Eli Hynes each had two hits. Starter Erik Schoenrock (2-4) lasted 2.1 innings and took the loss.

The Bulldogs close Southeastern Conference play by hosting LSU this weekend at Dudy Noble Field. Game times are 6 p.m. Thursday (Comcast Sports Southeast), 6:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday. The Bulldog seniors will be honored in pre-game activities on Friday night.

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