Dogs Take Series From Ole Miss

OXFORD, Miss. - Mississippi State combined timely hitting and quality pitching to defeat Ole Miss 11-8 in a Southeastern Conference baseball game Saturday night at Oxford-University Stadium.

The Bulldogs led from start to finish and parlayed a strong pitching performance from Nick Routt and Chad Crosswhite into the victory. Leading 6-5 in the sixth inning, the Bulldogs pulled away with a three-run home run from Connor Powers and three innings later, a two-run shot by Ryan Duffy.

With the victory, MSU clinched the weekend series. The Bulldogs won the series opener Friday night, 6-5. MSU snaps a five-year series win streak by Ole Miss. In the process, the Bulldogs clinch victory in a weekend series in Oxford for the first time since 2003.

MSU improved to 23-26 overall and 8-17 in league play with the win. Meanwhile, seventh-ranked Ole Miss fell to 36-15 and 16-10. Thanks to victories by South Carolina and Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs were eliminated from SEC Tournament consideration. However, the Bulldogs did move up to fifth place in the Western Division race. Also in the race, Ole Miss now trails LSU by two games, after the Tigers beat Florida yet again in Baton Rouge.

For a second straight week, the Bulldogs saw a Saturday afternoon contest delayed by rain. Five full innings were played before heavy rains and lightning caused a three-hour, 50-minute delay. Routt and the Bulldogs held a 6-5 lead when play was stalled.

MSU had built a 3-0 lead with one run in the second inning and two more scores in the third inning. In the second inning, Scott DeLoach hit a double and scored on an RBI-single by Ryan Powers. An inning later, Grant Hogue singled and scored on a Cody Freeman double. An RBI-single by Russ Sneed scored Freeman, running the lead to 3-0.

The Rebels answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Matt Smith started things with a leadoff walk. Kyle Henson slapped an RBI-double to break up the shutout. An RBI-single by Jeremy Travis capped that inning.

In the fifth inning, each team scored three runs.

For MSU, Cody Freeman drew a leadoff walk and later took third base on a Russ Sneed single. DeLoach chased UM starter Brett Bukvich with a two-run double off the right field wall. After a single by Ryan Collins, a groundball out by Brett Brownlee ran the MSU advantage to 6-2.

In the home half of the inning, Tim Ferguson and Jordan Henry started things with back-to-back hits. Both runners advanced on a double steal. A groundout scored Ferguson, while a sacrifice fly scored Henry. Henson's seventh home run of the year closed the gap to 6-5.

The Bulldogs then put the contest away with Powers' 17th home run and Duffy's eighth home run of the season.

MSU starter Nick Routt (5-3) worked the first five innings to record the win. The freshman left-hander allowed eight hits and five runs (all earned) with four strikeouts and a walk.

Ironically, Routt and the Bulldogs held a 7-3 lead after five innings of play against Alabama last Saturday. That contest was suspended by rain. In Sunday's completion, the Tide rallied off the MSU bullpen for a 17-16 victory.

Bukvich (8-2) took the loss for the Rebels. The senior left-hander worked 4-1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and six runs (all earned), with four strikeouts and a walk.

Crosswhite worked the final four innings for the Bulldogs, earning his sixth save. The senior right-hander recorded three straight scoreless innings before being touched for three scores in the UM ninth inning.

The Bulldogs finished with 16 hits. Hogue finished with three hits, while Sneed, DeLoach, Brownlee and Frank Rawdow had multiple hits.

The Rebels finished with 13 hits. Henry and Henson each had three hits, while Ferguson had multiple hits.

MSU and Ole Miss complete the series with a 1:30 p.m. start Sunday. Neither team has announced a starting pitcher. That contest will be televised regionally by Comcast Sports Southeast.

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