June 3, 2011
ATLANTA – Mississippi State’s Luis Pollorena and Caleb Reed combined to shutout Southern Mississippi, leading the Bulldogs to a 3-0 shutout win over the Golden Eagles in the opening game of the NCAA Atlanta Regional Friday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Mississippi State (35-23) will play at 7 p.m. on Saturday against the winner of game two between Georgia Tech and Austin Peay. Southern Miss. (39-18) will face the loser of the two at 3 p.m. in an elimination game.
Pollorena and Reed put the clamps on the Golden Eagles, scattering eight hits over the nine innings. The Golden Eagles had their scoreless innings streak extended to 25 innings.
“Obviously, we are proud of our kids,” Bulldog head coach John Cohen said. “Pollorena and Caleb Reed pitched brilliantly. I though (Southern Miss starter Todd) McInnis was outstanding too.”
Pollerna (7-5) earned the win after spreading five base-knocks over six innings. Reed completed the shutout with three scoreless frames of his own, picking up his 12th save of the season. Two hurlers combined for the team’s sixth shutout of the season.
The Bulldogs received all the offense they need on a RBI double to the gap from Nick Vickerson in the first inning, and the two-run single up the middle from Brent Brownlee in the sixth inning.
Brownlee singled in his first at-bat of the game, after entering as a defensive replacement for left fielder Trey Johnson in the bottom of the fourth inning.
C.T. Bradford paced the Mississippi State offense with two of the team’s seven hits.
Southern Miss starter Todd McInnis (8-3), the Conference USA Pitcher of the Year, was credited with the loss after allowing all three runs. McInnis was strong in the losing effort, tossing his second complete game of the season. The redshirt senior had six strikeouts, and retired the final 10 batters of the game.
The Golden Eagles offensive outage was in part due to some good defense by the Bulldogs. Southern Miss. put the leadoff runner on base in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but each time Mississippi State would eliminate the threat.
The Golden Eagles’ best opportunity came with runners on the corners and no outs in the fifth inning, but Pollorena got Tyler Koelling to line into a double play at shortstop, ending the frame.
“We keep trying to take steps,” Cohen said. “This is just another step forward. Whomever we play tomorrow will be a tremendous challenge. Every step our program makes helps.”