Slugfest

After Brady Bramlett got Mississippi State one, two, three in the top of the first inning, Ole Miss scored six runs in the bottom of the first. But that wouldn’t be nearly enough for victory.

Ole Miss outscored MSU 13-10 Friday night in Oxford to claim the baseball series with a 4 p.m. finale still on for Saturday.

The Rebels never trailed but the Bulldogs threatened a couple of times late.

Ole Miss was up 13-6 and in what appeared to be a comfortable situation. But the Bulldogs put together a four-run seventh inning to close the gap to what would eventually be the final score.

Jacob Waguespack pitched the seventh and eighth innings, while Wyatt Short, for the second consecutive night, closed it out in the ninth.

Prior to that Bramlett (six runs), Mitchel Babb (three runs), and Will Stokes (one run) all had trouble slowing down the Bulldogs.

In the bottom of the first it was Errol Robinson with the RBI single to score Connor Cloyd who had reached as the leadoff batter on a MSU error.

Colby Bortles’ RBI single scored Robinson, Sikes Orvis’ three-run home run, and a solo homer by J.B. Woodman seemed to put Ole Miss in complete control before fans got settled into their seats.

But MSU scored three runs in the top of the second inning to show the fight was still on.

Ole Miss was able to get one back on a wild pitch from reliever Vance Tatum, who had entered the contest in the first inning when starter Preston Brown couldn’t get an out.

Up 7-4, Ole Miss put up a five-spot in the fifth inning and again appeared to have a comfortable lead, ahead 12-4. But MSU trimmed it to 12-6 before the Rebels added a run in the top of the sixth to lead 13-6.

That’s when the Bulldogs jumped up and scored four in the seventh. And Ole Miss had to battle it out behind Waguespack and Short to close out the victory.

Bramlett (6-3) got the win. Brown (5-7) was the loser. Short got his ninth save of the season.

Both teams had 15 hits. MSU had three errors. Ole Miss had none.

Ole Miss is now 27-24 overall and has pulled itself up above .500 by three games with five left to play – Saturday against MSU, Tuesday at Arkansas State, and Thursday through Saturday of next week vs. Texas A&M in Oxford.

Ole Miss won Thursday night’s game against State 4-3. The Bulldogs are 24-26 overall and 8-18 in SEC play.

Quotable:

Mike Bianco –

* On putting Wyatt Short back out there to pitch the ninth inning after he had pitched the ninth the night before: “Waguespack used a lot of emotion out there, and not that he can’t go more than three innings. It just seemed like a heavyweight bout tonight. We’d score, they’d score. He gave us what he needed to give us tonight, so it was Wyatt’s ball at the end.”

* On Brady Bramlett’s night: “It was a difficult night to pitch for everybody. When you have a lead and you’re a power guy (like Bramlett), it takes a little of pressure off the other team. They know you’re going to throw the ball into the zone. To his credit, he did that. To their credit, they got off a lot of good swings. He kept it minimal because he didn’t walk people. He was able to minimize and navigate through the game.”

* On the game: “At the end of the day, it’s a win, regardless of how you got it. (MSU) is not going to go away. They’re tough. This is a rivalry game. They’re like us. This is it. The last two weeks. Handful of games left. Credit them. They’re playing hard like we knew they would.”

Sikes Orvis -

* On the game: “We knew if we came out and smacked them in the mouth right away, it would give us a good opportunity to win. Mississippi State’s a tough team. No matter how many runs we put up, they kept coming back. Our pitching staff did a great job shutting them down. It got a little scary at certain points."

Wyatt Short –

* On how he felt: “I felt good. Coming off last night, they didn’t know if I was even going to pitch tonight. They made sure I was ready and felt good. I was ready in the middle of the eighth, just in case Wags got in trouble. But he didn’t."

* On if he could go for a third straight day: “I will be ready, as always.”

Jacob Waguespack –

* On entering the game as the Rebels’ fourth pitcher in a slugfest: “I was ready in the pen. I obviously wanted those guys to get out of the inning. My main focus was to come in and throw strikes.”

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