On an afternoon when the Mississippi State Bulldogs weren’t at their best on defense or at the plate, the pitching staff carried them.
Nick Routt drew the start on the mound and tossed six plus innings allowing one unearned run in the fourth while striking out three and giving up just four hits as the Bulldogs defeated the Connecticut Huskies 3-1.
Routt (1-0) combined with Evan Mitchell and Caleb Reed to hold UConn (3-6) to a single run on six hits.
“Nick came out (Saturday) and just had quality stuff and when you put Evan Mitchell behind him with that breaking ball, it is tough,” Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen said. “When you can hold a team to one run that’s as good as UConn, I think our staff did a really good job."
Mitchell entered the game in the seventh facing nine batters, striking out four and allowed just a single hit over two innings of work before turning the duties over to Reed, who picked up his second save of the season.
At the plate, the Bulldogs struggled to put timely hits together, but Demarcus Henderson found a way to have a career-high afternoon with three hits and scoring twice.
“They kind of mixed and matched on the mound and we didn’t take great swings,” Cohen said. “But it was great to see a guy like Demarcus Henderson step forward and get some hits because we are going to need Demarcus.” Adam Frazier also had a three-hit afternoon while C.T. Bradford picked up a couple of RBI in the second inning to get MSU on the board with a single up the middle.
The Bulldogs added a run in the sixth with a two-out single up the middle by Sam Frost, scoring Henderson from second.
"That was big," said Cohen of Frost's single. “He really needed that for a lot of different reasons. Nobody works harder on our club than Sam Frost. It's good to see him get rewarded."
In the field, MSU committed five errors and while Cohen was pleased with the win, he knows his team is better than Saturday’s performance.
“We didn’t defend the way I wanted us to in this game," Cohen said. "That’s uncharacteristic of our infield, but but we pitched it really well and that’s the strength of our team.
“I was pleased with the way we ran the bases. I think we took sporadic good swings over the course of the day. We just didn’t string it together the way that you want to.”
Mississippi State takes on Lipscomb at 2:30 p.m., today. Lipscomb and UConn face off in the early game at 11 a.m.