Ross Mitchell doesn’t scare anyone.
Well, at least he doesn’t look like he should.
The Mississippi State lefty stands 6 feet 1 inch and weighs 160 pounds. His pants are pulled up a bit above his ankle, just enough so you can see the color of his socks. It’s a look that seems more accidental than intentional – one drying cycle too many, perhaps.
His release is awkward. He pulls the ball away from his glove as he winds up, showing it to the batter, before hiding the ball again and then throwing it in the mid to low-80s.
None of it may seem like the prototypical Southeastern Conference power pitcher, but it didn’t matter Saturday. Mitchell pitched a complete game to lead No. 22 Mississippi State (25-15, 9-8 SEC) past Mizzou (17-20, 6-11 SEC).
“He doesn’t have anything that’s going to put you away, but he competes,” said Missouri third baseman Ryan Howard. “Everything he throws just goes down. We just beat (the ball) into the ground today.”
Howard was one of the few Tigers to find success against Mitchell. The freshman singled twice, and scored both of Missouri’s runs.
Howard’s two trips across the plate were enough to keep Missouri in the game until the seventh inning. The Bulldogs drew four walks in the top of the inning to grab a three-run cushion.
Mitchell didn’t need any more support. He threw a season-high 142 pitches and forced 16 Missouri groundouts for his third complete game against an SEC opponent this season.
Miles went 6.1 innings and took the loss.
“We just didn’t pitch as well as they did,” Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said.
After dropping the series to the Bulldogs, Mizzou is still yet to win an SEC series at home this season.
Why the Tigers have been able to secure series wins on the road against Auburn and No. 19 Kentucky, but haven’t had success at Taylor Stadium, Jamieson isn’t sure.
“I can’t explain it,” he said.
The Tigers may have been looking for answers when they held an approximately 10-minute long team meeting in their practice facility after the game.
Howard has a simple solution.
“Great teams find a way to win,” Howard said. “We need to find a way to win ballgames.”
Missouri will have a chance to do that Sunday at 1 p.m. in the last game of its series against Mississippi State. Senior Eric Anderson will start on the mound for the Tigers.