Bulldogs Defeat Rebels 4-0

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Ricky Bowen fired a complete-game, two-hit shutout as Mississippi State blanked fifth-ranked Mississippi 4-0 in college baseball action Sunday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.

Bowen, a sophomore right-hander from Jasper, Ala., carried a no-hit bid until the two out mark in the ninth inning. Michael Hubbard broke up that bid with a line drive single through the left side of the infield on a 2-2 pitch. Cody Overbeck then extended his hit streak to 18 games by legging out an infield hit. Bowen's 11th strikeout of the contest, forced the Rebels to strand the bases loaded and closed out the win.

"A no-hitter would have been incredible," Bowen said. "Especially with it coming against your rival and a team with the accolades that Ole Miss has received."

Ole Miss still took the opening Southeastern Conference weekend series of the year, two games to one. The Rebels are now 13-5 overall and 2-1 in league play. MSU improves to 8-9 and 1-2. The Bulldogs close out a 14-game homestand with a 7-7 record.

Bowen (2-2) was masterful from Sunday's opening pitch. In recording his first-ever complete game, Bowen threw 127 pitches and had a first-pitch strike to 19 of 31 batters faced. Bowen allowed the two hits and walked only one batter. Bowen retired the first 14 batters he faced, as the Rebels only manged a pair of base runners (infield error and walk) prior to the ninth inning.

"I am super proud of Ricky," MSU head coach Ron Polk said. "We have some regular pitchers down (with injury). We really needed somebody to step up. Ole Miss has a great offensive ballclub. Ricky did a super job of keeping them under control."

For the Bulldogs, it was almost the first no-hitter since the 1985 season. The effort did become MSU's first complete game shutout since Alan Johnson blanked LSU during the 2003 season.

MSU scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings and plated two scores in the sixth inning.

"I didn't let (the pressure of a no-hit bid) bother me," Bowen said. "When you pick up additional runs in the middle innings, it helps you relax."

In the fourth inning, Jason Nappi drew a leadoff walk. Cody Freeman followed with a single to right field and Connor Powers loaded the bases with his single to left field. A wild pitch scored Nappi with the game's first run.

In the fifth inning, Grant Hogue drew a leadoff walk. Russ Sneed sacrificed Hogue to second base. After a lineout and pair of walks, Tyler Moore followed with an RBI single to left field.

In the sixth inning, Mark Gofroth started things by reaching on an infield error. Nick Hardy sacrificed Goforth into scoring position. After a groundout, the Rebels' third error reached Hogue and scored Goforth. Sneed followed with a single and Nappi followed with an RBI single to close out the scoring.

The Bulldogs finished with seven hits. - a hit apiece by seven different players.

Nathan Baker (1-2) pitched four-plus innings, being lifted after a leadoff walk in the fifth inning. Baker allowed four hits and two runs (both earned), with three strikeouts and three walks. Rory McKean followed in relief, before being lifted in the two-run sixth inning. Drew Pomeranz struck out six batters in 2-1/3 innings of relief work.

The Bulldogs hit the road for midweek play. MSU plays UAB at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night at Young Memorial Field in Birmingham, Ala. MSU resumes SEC play with a weekend series at South Carolina. Meanwhile, Ole Miss resumes SEC play next weekend, by hosting Florida.

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