Justin Pigott handcuffed Ole Miss from the get-go, and the Rebels couldn't return the favor on the mound.
Unleashing an offensive attack they'd rarely shown this season, Mississippi State rolled past Ole Miss 11-1 to tie the series at one game each. The finale is set for 2 p.m. Saturday.
The Bulldogs cut the Rebels early with Brett Bukvich on the mound. When Craig Rodriguez came in the bleeding worsened. By the time Stoney Stone arrived on the hill in the bottom of the fifth, State was up by 10 runs and cruising.
"They played well and we didn't," Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco said. "That's not a good combination. Bukvich did not make the pitches he needed to make and they made him pay, but Pigott was the story of the game. Whereas Buk did not have command of his pitches and usually fills the zone, he didn't tonight. Pigott had command of all three of his pitches. He was mixing them in and out, keeping the ball low, and throwing strikes."
It all got started offensively for State in the first when Jeffrey Rea hit the baseball back to Bukvich and it bounced off his hand as Rea reached first. The Rebel trainer and Bianco came out to the mound to check on Bukvich who appeareed to be OK. But things had only just begun for the Bulldogs.
After an out, Thomas Berkery doubled to the left corner to score Rea and the race was on. After another out, Joseph Hunter singled to short right to score Berkery.
The Rebs couldn't get anything going in the second or third, while State found the scoreboard with another run in the bottom of the third on a solo home run by Berkery.
Ole Miss cut the margin to 3-1 in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by C.J. Ketchum to score Zack Cozart who had doubled.
The Bulldogs put the game away over the next two innings, scoring three runs in the bottom of the fourth and five more in the bottom of the fifth to lead 11-1.
The game shifted into low gear at that point as neither team scored the rest of the way.
Pigott moved to 6-1 on the season, pitching his third consecutive complete game of the season. He went nine innings, allowing one earned run on six hits with six strikeouts and one walk, facing 33 batters.
"Pigott was able to keep us from getting good swings early, and we were tentative at the plate," Bianco said. "We should have been more aggressive early on. We made it too easy for him."
Bukvich pitched three innings giving up seven hits, four earned runs, with two walks and four strikeouts, moving to 5-5 with the loss. Stone and Tommy Baumgardner kept the Bulldogs at bay over the final three and a third innings, but the damage was already done.
"One out of every five outings you're just not going to have your stuff," Bukvich said. "But you have to get tough and find a way to make pitches. I didn't hit my spots when I needed to, and they made me pay. They battled hard at the plate, and I didn't respond to their level."
Ole Miss fell to 35-20 on the season, 16-13 in Southeastern Conference play. Mississippi State is also 35-20 and in SEC play 12-16.
The Rebels will send Lance Lynn (Fr., RHP, 4-3 record, 4.45 ERA) to the mound, while MSU will start Josh Johnson (Jr., RHP, 4-3 record, 5.20 ERA).
MSU ties series with second-game win
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