Your Bulldog Hurlers Sparkle In Win

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Freshman right-hander Chris Stratton allowed two runs and struck out nine to lead Mississippi State (7-3) to a 3-2 win over Southeast Missouri in the second annual BankFirst Baseball Challenge at Dudy Noble Field. Earlier in the day the Bulldogs turned back Michigan State 7-4.

The Bulldogs conclude play in the three-day, double round-robin event Sunday, testing Michigan State (5-3) in a 2:30 p.m. contest.

In his longest outing and the second-longest performance by a Bulldog pitcher this season, Stratton held the Redhawks (4-6) scoreless over the first seven frames before yielding a pair of runs in the eighth inning.

Stratton retired the first batter he faced in the eighth and left the game after giving up a pair of singles. Both runners scored on a double by Michael Adamson, the first batter faced by relief pitcher Devin Jones. Jones worked out of the jam in the eighth and left two runners stranded in the ninth to earn his first career save.

"I was very pleased with Chris today," said Bulldog skipper John Cohen. "He's been a slow starter, but once he gets his rhythm, he is really good."

Adamson had two hits as the Redhawks out-hit State 8-7.

Outfielders Ryan Collins, Jaron Shepherd and Luke Adkins combined for six of MSU's hits.

Collins matched a season best with a 3-for-4 plate performance while Shepherd's two-hit showing included a two-run single in the third that gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.

An inning later Collins singled, stole second, and scored State's other run on a two-out safety by Atkins.

"We didn't have as many good swings as I would have liked," continued Cohen. "We hit the ball hard, but right at guys. And we had two big base-running mistakes that cost us."

JSEMO starter Jordan Underwood (0-2) gave up three runs in four innings and took the loss. Jon Dicus followed with four innings of scoreless two-hit relief.

The Bulldogs are expected to start freshman Luke Bole (0-0, 9.00) against Michigan State in Sunday's finale of the BankFirst Baseball Challenge. The Spartans meet Southeast Missouri in an 11 a.m. contest.

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