Diamond Dogs Win Eighth Straight To Clinch Series Over Rebels
The Bulldogs broke a 3-3 tie with Brownlee's two-out hit to right field. The Bulldogs then received a critical pair of insurance scores on a C.T. Bradford two-run double in the top half of the eighth inning. For the second time in as many nights, Caleb Reed entered in relief, securing a ninth-inning double play ball to snuff out the Rebels' final threat.
"We had some really good swings," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "One of the biggest ones was the last one. C.T. really needed that hit. That's a hit that can help turn him around."
With the victory, the Bulldogs clinched the weekend series from the Rebels. MSU has now won two straight series in Lafayette County and four of the past six played on the UM campus. The Bulldogs also made it three series victories for the 2011 campaign.
The Bulldogs have won eight straight games and six straight conference games. It is the longest MSU win streak inside league play since the 2003 Bulldogs reeled off eight straight victories. With the win, MSU improved to 32-18 overall and 13-13 in league play. The Bulldogs will begin Saturday either in the Western Division lead or one-half game behind Arkansas. Ole Miss fell to 27-23 and 11-15.
"It has been a long haul for some of these guys and they're finally competing at a level they knew we were going to get to," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "I think our kids are excited about showing up to the ballpark every day."
MSU started Nick Routt (2-2) worked 5.1 innings and earned the victory. Routt allowed five hits and three runs (all earned), with three strikeouts and two walks. Devin Jones faced one batter in relief. Tim Statz worked the Bulldogs out of a critical jam in the sixth inning and carried things until the ninth. Reed faced two batters to earn his 11th save. That save moves Reed into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time MSU single-season saves chart.
After a one-hour rain delay to start the contest, the Bulldogs struck first. In last weekend's three-game sweep of Tennessee and this weekend's first two wins over the arch-rival, the Bulldogs only have trailed for one total half-inning.
MSU scored twice in the third inning to start the scoring Friday night. Brownlee began things with a leadoff single. Jonathan Ogden followed with a single. A sacrifice bunt by Bradford advanced both runners. A groundout by Ryan Collins scored one run, while an RBI-single by Jarrod Parks scored the other.
The Rebels tied the contest 2-2 in the fourth inning on a two-run home run by Will Allen. For the UM first baseman, it was his fourth round-tripper of the season.
The Bulldogs battled back on top 3-2 with a lone run in the top half of the fifth inning. In that frame, Ogden doubled and scored on a Collins' single. UM answered in its half of the fifth inning on a sacrifice-fly by Blake Newalu.
MSU then took charge with four two-out RBIs to salt away its third victory this season over Ole Miss.
"Two-out hits are huge," said Brownlee, an Oxford native. "They always say a two-out rally is huge and I am glad we could make a definition of that. Right now, we are right at the top (of the SEC Western Division). We are in the mix and we want to stay there. The only way to do that is to keep winning."
The Bulldogs finished with nine hits. Brownlee and Ogden each had multiple hits.
The Rebels finished with seven hits. Tanner Mathis had two hits for UM. Starting pitcher David Goforth (4-7) was lifted during the MSU two-run sixth inning and took the loss.
The series finale is at 7:06 p.m. Saturday. MSU is scheduled to start senior right-hander Chris Stratton (6-5, 4.84 ERA), while UM is scheduled to start junior right-hander Austin Wright (4-4, 4.92). SportSouth will have the regional telecast.