Struggles Continue

PEARL - The woes continued for Ole Miss here Tuesday night as Mississippi State beat the Rebels 5-1. It was the eighth loss in the last ten games this season for Ole Miss.

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Offensively neither team was stellar with six hits apiece. But Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said his pitchers have to cut down on giving the opposition free trips to first base.

"Just too many walks, and that's all the starters," he said. "You can't walk 10 guys and hit a guy and expect to win. It's amazing they only got five runs. Give them that many free baserunners and for them to only score five runs, we're fortunate.

"We'll look at the offense and see only one run," Bianco continued. "But at the end of the day, we're not tough enough. We've got to be tougher on the mound. We've got to be tougher defensively. We've got to be tougher at the plate."

Ole Miss in five of its last six games has scored either one run or no runs. The other game was a 7-6 loss to Vanderbilt in 11 innings.

Ole Miss took the lead at 1-0 in the second. Holt Perdzock, making just his third college start, this time in the DH role, singled in the Rebels' first run when his base hit to left over the short stop's head plated Stuart Turner. The Rebel catcher had led off the inning with a single, which bounced off Bulldog starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff's leg and past the MSU second baseman.

The Bulldogs tied the game 1-1 in the top of the fifth. Laxer gave up his first hit of the game when Derrick Armstrong singled. Alex Detz later in the inning got a base hit to get Armstrong home. Will Jamison led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk. After one out, Jamison wound up at third base on a hit and run as Austin Bousfield singled to right. Austin Anderson struck out, and the Rebels ended the inning with a fielder's choice by Stuart Turner with Bousfield out at second base.

That was the last real threat for the Rebels in this one. Mississippi State scored two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh. The Rebels simply had trouble mounting anything offensively the latter stages of the contest.

The losing pitcher for Ole Miss was reliever Jeremy Massie, who was the first pitcher in after starter Josh Laxer went 4.2 innings and had a decent stat line, except for five walks. There was only one earned on two hits with two strikeouts. Ross Mitchell, a reliever for MSU, got the win and is now 6-0.

"It's disappointing," Bianco said of his team's performance. "We take too many at-bats off. And not taking anything away (from MSU pitchers). But that's kind of been the issue with us. We've not been able to put it together. And the few times we do, we're not able to get the big hit or make something happen.

"We've got to have some tougher innings. We've got to make it tougher on the opponent, the opponent's pitcher, that they don't just cruise through the lineup for two or three innings like they did tonight."

Bianco said the time is now for his team.

"The message is we have to get tougher, and we have to realize you can't fall into a situation of ‘next weekend.' Well next weekend's now. We're not through the midway point of conference play. You can't play like this and assume you'll recover. To me it's to the point that I was worried about them mentally.

"But now it doesn't matter. Now it's all hands on deck. We've got to get tougher and compete better. Stay in games defensively, and offensively we have to max it out and push more runs across."

Ole Miss heads home for three games against Alabama this weekend for Grove Bowl. Game times are Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m., and Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

After that, the Rebels play Memphis at AutoZone Park Monday night in a rainout makeup game, and return here to Pearl Tuesday night for a game against Southern Mississippi.

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