Dog Has His Day

STARKVILLE – The Ole Miss dugout spent a great deal of energy attempting to jinx Ricky Bowen's career day in the early innings. The baseball superstitions finally took hold with one out to spare, but that was too late, as Bowen secured what really counts – a dominating Sunday victory.

The MSU right-hander perplexed the Rebels all afternoon and was one strike away from a no-hitter when Michael Hubbard pushed a two-strike slider through the left side of the infield. Cody Overbeck followed with an infield single, but Bowen slammed the door with a strikeout of Michael Guerrero next.

The final out set off the third standing ovation of the ninth inning from the Dudy Noble Field crowd of 3,035, signaling that the Bulldogs (8-9, 1-2) had salvaged the final game of the SEC's opening weekend with a solid 4-0 victory over No. 5 Ole Miss (13-5, 2-1).

Bowen (2-2), a 2007 Freshman All-American, entered with a 10.20 ERA but quickly looked like an accomplished veteran by locating three pitches for strikes and keeping the Rebels guessing. Even early, it was obvious that offensive success wouldn't come easily.

"The Ole Miss dugout was screaming at me to let me know I had a perfect game in the early innings," Bowen said. "I tried to pitch within myself and let the Lord take care of the rest.

"After that first hit, I just said ‘oh well, I hope there will be more chances later on.'"

The perfect game held firm until two outs in the fifth when MSU third baseman Connor Powers made a throwing error after scooping up a Zach Miller ground ball. Bowen also walked Jordan Henry as the only other base runner before the ninth inning.

In the final frame, Tim Ferguson reached on a fielding error by shortstop Russ Sneed, and the two hits loaded the bases for Guerrero, who was the tying run. The junior struckout on a fastball just above the belt for Bowen's career-high 11th K of the day.

"It is disappointing that we didn't play well, but I don't want to take anything away from Bowen," Mike Bianco said. "He had a lot to do with that."

Overbeck, who kept extended his hitting streak to 18 games, agreed.

"We had no idea what was coming."

Mississippi State generated single runs in the fourth and fifth innings off Nathan Baker, and two unearned runs off Rory McKean in the sixth inning. Ole Miss finished the day with three errors, a weakness that is becoming more pronounced since conference play has begun.

Baker (1-2) was tagged with loss, allowing two runs and four hits in four complete innings. The sophomore walked and struckout three apiece.

Drew Pomeranz relieved McKean and dominated with six strikeouts out of the seven batters faced.

"Our bullpen is still performing well, and Drew continues to impress," Bianco said. "Things spiraled on Nathan because he had to be perfect that doesn't happen often."

Ole Miss returns Tuesday at home versus Arkansas-Little Rock at 6:30 p.m. and will host SEC-leading Florida (3-0) next weekend in the conference home opener.

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