STARKVILLE - Cody Satterwhite has 10 wins this season, most of any pitcher in the Southeastern Conference. None was bigger than the last one.
Satterwhite, the Jackson Hillcrest product also heavily recruited by Mississippi State, lifted Ole Miss to a 6-5 ten-inning win in game one of their three-game, regular season ending series.
Satterwhite took the mound when things were looking a bit bleak for the Rebels. Ole Miss went into the bottom of the ninth with a 5-3 lead. But reliever Garrett White got into some trouble.
The score was 5-5 with two outs and runners on first and second as Satterwhite made his way from the bullpen to the hill. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound RHP got Bulldog Ed Easley to fly out to the centerfielder.
"I just wanted to go out and throw strikes and pump the zone," said Satterwhite, now only one win short of tying the Ole Miss single-season win mark of 11 by Rick Zibilich in 1977 and Jamey Price in 1995. "I just wanted to keep things tied up and let us go out and get a run in the next inning."
How prophetic. That's exactly what happened.
As the Rebels moved to the top of the tenth, Zack Cozart was first up. He popped up a bunt toward third base, but Bulldog third baseman Michael Rutledge couldn't catch it. He fielded it but didn't even attempt a throw. Alex Presley sac bunted Cozart to second. After C.J. Ketchum lined out to the right fielder, another Hillcrest alum Logan Power came to the plate and singled to left, scoring Cozart from second base.
A Power error in left field had allowed State to cut the UM lead to 5-4 in the ninth. The redshirt freshman said he felt like he needed to make up for it in the top of the tenth.
"I knew their pitcher was going to try to get ahead of me," said Power, whose tenth-inning hit was the only one he had on the night in four appearances at the plate. "I just figured it would be a fast ball, and I put a pretty good swing on it and got the hit."
But the deal wasn't sealed just yet. Satterwhite went back out and took care of the Bulldogs in the bottom of the tenth. Thomas Berkery grounded out. Brian LaNinfa lined out. After Mitch Moreland singled, Joseph Hunter flew out to right fielder Mark Wright to end it.
Ole Miss took advantage of a couple of State errors early in the contest as well as a couple of RBI sac flies to lead 5-1. But a two-run shot out of the park by LaNinfa cut the UM lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh.
That's the way things stood until the fireworks for MSU in the bottom of the ninth.
Starter Will Kline went seven and a third, allowing three earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
The loss was charged to MSU reliever Brett Cleveland, the third of three pitchers used by State in the contest.
State fell to 34-20 overall and 11-16 in SEC games. Cozart said it wasn't easy, but they didn't think it would be going in.
"Give credit to them. They battled all night," said Cozart, 2-for-4 with two RBI. "They were a hit or two away from taking the game from us. That they didn't is a tribute to our pitchers."
"We're playing with a lot of confidence," said Rebel head coach Mike Bianco, his team now 35-19 overall, 16-12 in SEC play. "We played really well until the ninth inning. The good thing is we didn't blow up. We ran off the field and looked like things were OK. Not that we wanted things to happen that way. But things were still OK. It's like 0-0 now that it's 5-5. We just have to score and hold them."
Worked like a charm.
Game two of the series is Friday night, same time, same place, and for Ole Miss hopefully the same result.
Rebels 'power' past State 6-5 in 10 innings
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