Game two to MSU too

Mississippi State took command early in game two of its weekend series with Ole Miss and never relinquished control as the Bulldogs won 11-8 to claim the series from the homestanding Rebels.

State won its first regular season series against Ole Miss since 2003 when the Bulldogs swept the Rebels in Oxford, which was also the last time Ole Miss has been swept three games by an SEC team at home.

"Disappointing," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco after his team fell to 36-15 overall and 16-10 in SEC play as regular season league title hopes have faded some.

The Rebels are now third in the SEC West behind LSU (18-8) and Alabama (17-9). In the overall chase, Florida (16-10) is tied with Ole Miss for third place.

"We gave up too many runs," Bianco said. "You won't win many games in this league giving up 11 runs. It seemed like anytime we'd get close, we'd give up the big inning."

Brett Bukvich, so effective against MSU in the Governor's Cup Game in Pearl, an 8-1 UM win earlier this season, wasn't so on this day. He lasted 4.1 innings, with six runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and a walk.

Aaron Barrett relieved him and went two-thirds of an inning with just a hit in three batters faced. But then came a nearly four-hour weather delay, which ultimately proved to be the Rebels' undoing.

Ole Miss had just scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to close the gap and trail only 6-5 when the storms rolled in. When they rolled out and the game resumed, it was the Bulldogs who rocked Rebel reliever Nathan Baker at that point.

State's nine-hole hitter, Frank Rawdow, launched a first-pitch double to signal the Bulldogs meant business following the long wait. A sac bunt and a walked followed, and then came a three-run blast to the left field terrace by Ryan Powers. MSU led 9-5, and Bianco said the Rebels felt that one and in a bad way.

"Powers' shot knocked a lot of wind out of us," he said. "You get (the game) close and come out of a rain delay and give up a three-run shot right off the bat, it's not good."

The Rebels did still have four at-bats left, but they weren't able to get a run across until State had two more to call its own. In the top of the ninth, Grant Hogue led off with a single against Rory McKean, and then Ryan Duffy sent one deep into right field and over the wall for an 11-5 MSU lead that the Rebels couldn't overcome.

Although they tried. A three-run bottom of the ninth was only half enough.

State starter Nick Routt (5-3) got the win. Chad Crosswhite got his sixth save of the season.

MSU, which outhit Ole Miss 16 to 13, improved to 23-27 and 8-17.

Bianco said his team gave its best. Hats off to State, however.

"We competed hard," he said. "Mississippi State just played real well."

Game three is at 1:30 p.m. Sunday as Phillip Irwin (5-3, 4.15 ERA) goes for Ole Miss and State's starter is TBA.

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