STARKVILLE, Miss. – After throwing the only 2014 road shutout in league play this past Saturday at Auburn, Mississippi State redshirt junior left-hander Ross Mitchell was named Southeastern Conference Co-Pitcher of the Week, the league office announced Monday. With the honor, the All-American became the second player in school history to earn the accolade three times in the same season (Alan Johnson, 2003).
“It is an honor to receive the award again and represent the players, coaches and fans of Mississippi State University,” Mitchell said. “The catching, defense and pitching staff did a tremendous job this past weekend, so this team as a whole won the award.”
Mitchell’s first career complete-game blanking was part of a weekend sweep where the Bulldogs held the Tigers to just one run in 27 innings. The Maroon and White became the first SEC school to allow one run or less in a three-game conference series since South Carolina accomplished the feat at Tennessee April 7-9, 2011.
“It was inspiring to see how focused he was on the mound after losing a grandparent earlier in the week,” MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson said. “It is a testament to how great of a teammate, player and person he is. I have never respected a player more.”
The southpaw joins fellow All-American pitcher Aaron Nola of LSU as the only three-time winners this season. Mitchell shared this week’s honor with Georgia’s Ryan Lawlor, who also registered a complete-game victory in a 3-1 home triumph against South Carolina.
The complete-game shutout by Mitchell was the first on the road for MSU since 2005, the fourth overall in the conference this season and the first overall by a MSU pitcher since Toronto Blue Jays’ prospect Kendall Graveman did so against Florida on April 6, 2013.
Mitchell’s series-clinching victory Saturday gave MSU its first series win on the Plains in a decade and made it the first time since 1997 the Bulldogs had won three of its first four conference road series.
The leading workhorse in the SEC, the Smyrna, Tenn., native leads the league in innings pitched (89.1), is tied for fourth with seven wins, ranks ninth in ERA (2.12) and is 10th in opponent batting average (.220). Through his first eight SEC starts, Mitchell and 2012 SEC Pitcher of the Year and MLB first-round draft pick Chris Stratton share similar stats.