It almost has become almost common for Vanderbilt to play in the championship game at the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament.
Unfortunately for the Commodores, the same is true of the runner-up trophy coming home with them.
After four victories in five days and nine straight triumphs overall, Vanderbilt managed just six hits and lost 3-0 to Mississippi State on Sunday in the 2012 title game.
It was the second year in a row and the sixth time in nine seasons the Commodores played for the championship. Their only victory was in 2007.
Will Cooper and Conrad Gregor each had a double, the latter with two out in the eighth, but Vanderbilt (33-26) couldn’t capitalize on any opportunities and was shut out for the first time since March 23 against Georgia.
Mississippi State’s Ross Mitchell, a freshman out of Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, pitched five shutout innings of relief and earned the win.
MSU (39-22) scored all three of its runs without a hit. The first came on a wild pitch by starter Tyler Beede in the third inning. The other two came in the fourth on a bases loaded walk by Steven Rice, the second of six VU pitchers, and a sacrifice fly off Drew VerHagen.
The Commodores’ best opportunity to score came in the top of the first, when they had runners on second and third with one out against MSU starter Brandon Woodruff.
Tony Kemp led off with a walk and Mike Yastrzemski followed with a bunt single. Anthony Gomez sacrificed the runners into scoring position but Gregor’s hard line drive was caught by first baseman Wes Rea who threw to second and doubled off Yastrzemski.
Vanderbilt will learn its destination and opponents for the NCAA regional when the 64-team NCAA tournament field is announced 11 a.m. Monday.