MSU Baseball Sees Win Streak Snapped With Loss To Ole Miss
OXFORD, Miss. - A six-run first inning removed all doubt early as Mississippi State saw its eight-game win streak snapped with a 12-3 loss to Ole Miss in a Southeastern Conference baseball game played Saturday night at Oxford-University Stadium.
The Bulldogs were hoping for their first series sweep against the Rebels since 2003. Instead, MSU will settle for its third series win of the year and second straight here on the arch-rival's campus. MSU lost not only an eight-game win streak overall but also a six-game conference win streak and a three-game win streak in this rivalry.
MSU falls to 32-19 overall and 13-14 in conference play, while Ole Miss improves to 28-23 and 12-15. The Bulldogs still remain one half-game out of first place in the Western Division standings. MSU trails both Arkansas and Auburn (each at 13-13), while still leading Alabama (12-14). Ole Miss ranks fifth, a game-and-a-half clear of LSU (10-16).
"Well, we were able to win eight in a row," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "I felt like this was the sloppiest game we've played in a while. Credit to Ole Miss. I think they came out and realized their whole season was on the line here. They just did a better job than we did today."
UM starter Austin Wright (5-4) had the Bulldogs on lockdown Saturday night. Wright pitched 6.1 innings, allowing four hits and one run, with two walks and a season-best 10 strikeouts. Conversely, MSU starter Chris Stratton (6-6) had his shortest outing of the season, leaving after recording only two outs in the first inning.
Tanner Mathis opened the UM first inning with a leadoff single. After a strikeout, a single by Alex Yarbrough and walk to Matt Snyder loaded the bases. Matt Tracy followed with a two-run single. An RBI-single by Will Allen added another score. An infield error cost the Bulldogs an out and plated another score. After a strikeout, a two-run single by Blake Newalu ran the lead to 6-0. A follow-up walk ended Stratton's night on the mound.
In relief, Chad Girodo got the Bulldogs out the first inning and held the Rebels pretty much at bay for the next three frames. Ole Miss did score once in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 7-0.
In the top half of the fourth inning, the Bulldogs did have a chance. After back-to-back outs to start the frame, Nick Vickerson lined a double. Jaron Shepherd drew a walk and Hunter Renfroe singled. With the bases loaded, Ryan Collins flied out to end that threat.
The Maroon and White did score an inning late when Jonathan Ogden lined his eighth home run of the season. For the Bulldogs, it was their first home run of the weekend series.
The Rebels touched MSU reliever C.T. Bradford for three runs in the sixth inning. The big blows of that inning were an RBI-single by Yarbrough and two-run home run by Snyder.
In the seventh inning, MSU scored twice. Daryl Norris started things with a one-out walk. Ogden followed with a double down the left field line. A sacrifice-fly by Wes Thigpen scored one run and an RBI-single by Bradford scored the other.
Ole Miss closed the scoring with a pair of insurance scores in the home half of the eighth inning.
The Bulldogs finished with six hits. Ogden and Bradford each had multiple hits.
The Rebels finished with 15 hits. Yarbrough had four hits and four RBIs. Snyder had three hits and three RBIs, while Allen had two hits and two RBIs. Newalu also drove in a pair of runs.
"We like the way our kids have been competing the last couple of weeks," Cohen said. "We hope to see a bunch of fans in the stands next Thursday. This is a very big series for our team."
The Bulldogs have four regular season games remaining. MSU and Memphis meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at AutoZone Park in the final non-conference game of the season. League play closes with LSU coming to Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs and Tigers meet at 6 p.m. Thursday (Comcast Sports Southeast), 6:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday.