(FILE) â€“ Demarcus Henderson had an RBI single for the Bulldogs in the sixth inning Saturday. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
There has been a good bit of documented history surrounding the Mississippi State baseball program.
On Saturday, it encountered another milestone.
The No. 13 (Collegiate Baseball) Mississippi State Bulldogs held off the Portland Pilots 2-1 for MSU's 1,000th win at Dudy Noble Field.
"It's just a real credit to a lot of different people who have been through this program," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "(It's) all the players and all the coaches. It's just another milestone that makes you proud to say you're a part of this program."
The Bulldogs, who improved to 2-0 this season, are now 1,000-366-2 in 47 years at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU junior outfielder Demarcus Henderson's RBI single in the sixth inning proved to be the game winning hit.
The game was tied at 1-1 with runners at first third, when Henderson stepped up to the plate. With the bases loaded in the fourth inning, Henderson hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
"I am not going to pass it up twice," Henderson said. "I remembering going back to last year we were playing Samford and the same thing happened. That's kind of been playing over in my head for a while. When I get the opportunity, I wasn't going to let it go to waste this time."
Henderson slapped a Travis Radke fastball into right field to score Daryl Norris from first to give the Bulldogs the lead for good.
"It's kind of hard to see his breaking ball," Henderson said. "For some reason, I was seeing a glare and it was hard for me to pick up my first at-bat. I was going to try to be as late as possible and still try to keep it fair."
The Pilots (0-2) threw sophomore left hander Radke. Radke went 6.2 innings. He gave up two runs on seven hits. He walked only two and struck out nine Bulldog batters. He also threw 114 pitches.
"(Radke) is very good," Cohen said. "He's an SEC caliber pitcher. He just changes speeds and nothing comes out of his hand the same way two times in a row. We kind of hung in there. I wished we would have done better against him, but this early in the year, I think he did a great job. My goodness, he went out there and threw (114) pitches. That tells you a lot if the guy is good enough to throw that many pitches this early in the year."
The Bulldogs started junior right hander Evan Mitchell. Mitchell pitched his way out of a jams in the early going. He struck out the side to get out of a first and second jam in the second inning. He gave up a leadoff double in the third inning, but used a strike out and two ground outs to get out of the inning.
Mitchell pitched five innings. He gave up one run on three hits. He walked three batters and struck out six.
"The exciting thing for us with Evan is the lack of big misses," Cohen said. "When he is not missing big, he's going to be successful."
The five innings pitched by Mitchell was the most since pitching eight against Austin Peay in the 2011 Atlanta Regional.
Mitchell gave way to Ross Mitchell who pitched one inning to get the win.
MSU's Ben Bracewell started the seventh inning by hitting Caleb Whalen. After getting a 1-2 count on Turner Gill, Cohen decided to bring in center fielder C.T. Bradford to get the final strike on Gill.
"We knew we were going to use C.T. in a situation like that," Cohen said. "This is the time of the year where we really need to be able to do it. We have enough outfield depth where we can run guys behind C.T."
Bradford threw five pitches and finally got Gill to go down looking.
"I had a feeling," Bradford said. "Ben did a great job getting two strikes there and putting me in a good position. We had gone over this in the spring. I got loose earlier in the sixth and I felt fine."
Jonathan Holder pitched the final 1.2 innings. He struck out four batters and recorded his 10th career save.
"They had a great lineup," Holder said. "A lot of them could really put the bat on the ball. (In) that eighth inning I came in, you really have to take caution with runners in scoring position, especially at third. I really, really tried not to give anybody a cookie, so they could just eat it."
The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Wes Rea led off the inning by getting on base after striking out, but raced to first base on the wild pitch. He made it to third base on Trey Porter's single to left field.
Hunter Renfroe attempted to lay down a bunt. He popped it up. Radke dove for it, but was unable to come up with allowing Rea to score from third base.
The Pilots only run came on a RBI single by Jeff Melby in the sixth inning.
Porter led MSU with two hits. Melby had two hits for the Pilots.
The Bulldogs will go for a sweep of the Pilots today. A doubleheader is scheduled. The first game is scheduled for 1 p.m. and the second shortly after the conclusion of the first.
Portland will give the ball to freshman right hander Zach Torson in the first game. MSU gives the nod to senior co-captain righty Kendall Graveman in the first game for his 30th career start.
The Pilots will let sophomore right hander Kurt Yinger pitch the nightcap.
The Bulldogs have yet to announce a starter for the final game of the series.
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