SEC Baseball Championship 2012: Mississippi State Peaking at Perfect Time
Mississippi State beat Vanderbilt 3-0 in the SEC Championship game to complete its rampage through the conference tournament.
It was another dominant performance by the Bulldogs, who couldn't have picked a better time to play their best ball of the season.
Although their conference record (17-14) isn't overly impressive, Mississippi State flipped the switch at the perfect time. They've won nine of their last 10 games, and they avenged their only loss during that span by eliminating Kentucky, 2-1, in the semifinals.
The deep Bulldogs pitching staff was excellent throughout the tournament, surrendering just 12 runs in six games. Their crown jewel was the championship game, when four pitchers combined for the shutout.
Starter Brandon Woodruff carried Mississippi State through the first three innings before Ross Mitchell took over. Mitchell, a red-shirt freshman, was phenomenal in his career-high five-plus innings.
After Caleb Reed came in for a short stint, projected first-round pick Chris Stratton took the mound and slammed the door on Vanderbilt. He got the final two outs for the Bulldogs, sealing the win and solidifying their status as one of the most dangerous teams in the nation.
With their balanced and versatile pitching staff, as well as a decent lineup, Mississippi State is capable of beating anybody in the country.
They have clearly proven that in the past three weeks, going a combined 7-3 against national powerhouses Florida, LSU and Kentucky, and holding their opponents to just 2.4 runs per game during that stretch.
They may not earn the distinction of being a national seed, but the Mississippi State Bulldogs are for real.
The rest of the country should be very, very concerned.
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