Mississippi State Strikes Early and Strikes Out Alabama Batters in 6-0

Mississippi State didn’t wait long to get an idea of what kind of night junior ace Ethan Small was planning. The left hander struck out the side in the first inning, part of 15 strikeout performance over six shutout innings, and the offense used a four run 2nd inning to spark an eventual 6-0 win over Alabama. Small set a new career high in strikeouts, effectively using his fastball for his putaway pitch. At bat, Jordan Westburg had the big blow, a three run homer in the second that pushed the MSU lead from 1-0 to 4-0. Elijah MacNamee and Justin Foscue had RBI’s in the seventh to provide the final tally.

ABSOLUTELY DEALING

Small would add one more to that total, as he continues to show why he might be the best Friday night starter in the SEC. Small had great command of his fastball, consistently getting the Crimson Tide hitters to chase that. He only ran into trouble once, loading the bases with no outs in the third, but he struck out the side afterwards to escape unharmed. Small has been so good for MSU this season, and his performances are a big reason why the Bulldogs are now 4-1 in conference play when he starts, the only loss to Auburn who took the lead after Small had exited the game.

GO WEST YOUNG MAN

This season has seen nearly all of Mississippi State’s sophomores take a jump forward, but none bigger than Jordan Westburg. He’s now batting a scorching .352, with 6 home runs and a team leading 39 RBI. More good news for the Bulldogs, his defense at short has been much better the past two weekends, possibly as a result of the move of Justin Foscue to second and Gunner Halter to third. I said back in January that I thought Westburg might have the highest ceiling on the team due to his physical skills. Halfway through the campaign, he’s been proving me right.

WHAT’S NEXT?

MSU will return to the diamond tomorrow at 1 PM for Game 2 of the series. The Bulldogs will send Peyton Plumlee to the mound to face Alabama’s Brock Love. State will be looking to claim its fourth series win in SEC play out of five.

Photo courtesy of Mississippi State athletics