Encore Performance

STARKVILLE - Michael Guerrero had been waiting on his chance, his situation to contribute and prove his worth in the clean-up spot of the lineup. That moment came in the sixth inning Saturday, and Guerrero did what he wanted – he defined it.

The junior belted a full count pitch into the left-field corner to break a six-six tie and power No. 5 Ole Miss (13-4, 2-0) to a series-clinching 11-6 victory over Mississippi State (7-9, 0-2) in front of an actual attendance of 3,102.

The sharp double scored three and gave Guerrero eight combined RBI on the weekend. It was his only hit of the night, but it was the clutch one that mattered.

"I'm just sitting there thinking ‘what a big opportunity for me to get up there and produce,' Guerrero said "I was waiting on it, got down 3-0, took a strike, he blew one by me outside, I was kind of looking for him to go back but he tried to sneak it by me inside and I just reacted and hit it down the line."

The multi-run cushion would be more than enough, as relief pitcher Scott Bittle retired his last 11 batters faced and pitched four innings of relief to pick up the win. Bittle (1-0) struckout five, allowed four hits and one walk as well as one run. It was the first earned run Bittle has allowed this season.

"It was all about damage control," Bittle said. "I gave up a couple of hits. The only thing I was thinking about was getting that first out, once we got that you go batter-to-batter and we got out with limited damage.

"I'm trying not to let things get to me. Last year I kind of let things snowball. I thought I had to do something more than I am capable of. This year I know I'm good and just know to go out there and throw strikes."

Logan Power led the Rebels with three hits, while Cody Overbeck and Jordan Henry rapped two apiece. Power has seven hits on the weekend, and Overbeck is now carrying a 17-game hit streak into Sunday. He has hit safely in every game this season.

The game featured five lead changes, but Ole Miss scored six unanswered to close the contest. Trailing 6-5 after six innings, the Rebels tied it in the seventh and blasted the Bulldogs for four runs in the eighth frame. Ole Miss added a final run of insurance in the ninth.

"I thought tonight we won because of our offense," Mike Bianco said. "Tonight we just kept answering back; not a ton of hits, but we were able to bunch them together. We were able to put some big innings together and we were good with people on base tonight."

Cody Satterwhite started for Ole Miss but garnered a no-decision after five runs on nine hits in five innings.

State closer John Lalor (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on two hits in two innings of work. MSU starter Justin Pigott was charged with three runs in 2.2 innings, as the senior left with a shoulder injury in that third frame.

Ole Miss goes for the sweep Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Nathan Baker will get the nod for the Rebels against Bulldog Ricky Bowen.

"It's just one of those things; it hasn't really set in for me yet," Guerrero said of his night. "Mississippi State is Mississippi State, it's always good to beat them, I hope we sweep them tomorrow."

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