Five-Run Sixth Leads No. 3 Mississippi State Baseball Past No. 6 Ole Miss to Clinch Series Win
STARKVILLE – Tanner Allen raced around second and headed to third as three runs crossed the plate to punctuate a five-run sixth inning that ultimately gave No. 3 Mississippi State a 7-5 series clinching victory over No. 6 Ole Miss on Sunday afternoon inside Dudy Noble Field.
The victory gives Mississippi State (27-8, 10-5 SEC) five straight series wins over Ole Miss (26-10, 9-6 SEC) and makes it 16 victories in the last 19 games between the two schools. It also pushes State into second place in the SEC West at the mid-way point of the conference schedule.
The Diamond Dawgs struck first with a run in the second inning and the two teams were tied at 2-2 heading to the sixth inning. After the Rebels got a two-run home run in the top of the sixth, State sent nine batters to the plate and scored five times to push ahead, 7-4. An unearned run in the eighth drew the Rebels within two, but Landon Sims pitched around an error in the ninth to close out the series victory.
Of the nine batters that came to the plate in the sixth, seven put the ball in play with five collecting hits and three driving in RBIs. Brayland Skinners’ one-out RBI single got the crowd of 10,522 jumpstarted and Scotty Dubrule plated the game-tying run with a two-out single. After Rowdey Jordan’s infield hit loaded the bases, Allen delivered the bases clearing triple to right-center field.
Jordan led the Dawgs at the plate with a 4-for-5 afternoon, two runs scored and one RBI, while Allen walked once and delivered his lone hit in the sixth to plate a team-best three RBIs. The bottom half of the MSU lineup chipped in seven of State’s 12 hits, scored five runs and drove in three RBIs. Among those, Josh Hatcher reached base twice with a single and a walk, and Skinner scored twice to go along with his one RBI.
Neither starting pitcher factored into the decision at MSU’s Jackson Fristoe threw 2 2/3 innings with one run allowed on two hits and UM’s Drew McDaniel allowed two runs on three hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Houston Harding (4-1) picked up the victory with three runs allowed on two hits in 3 1/3 innings of work. He struck out five and walked one. Sims (5) struck out one in a clean ninth inning to give Mississippi State its fifth straight series win over Ole Miss.
For the Rebels, Hayden Leatherwood provided most of the offense with a pair of home runs and three RBIs on the day. Dunhurst drove in the only other UM RBI. Josh Mallitz (3-2) took the loss with three runs allowed on three hits without recording an out in the sixth inning.
Head coach Chris Lemonis
On the back half of the order producing
CL: It had been a tough weekend for the most part, offensively. You have to tip your hat to Ole Miss. We ran into some really good arms [for Ole Miss], and we had some guys scuffling a bit. We talk all the time, it’s a sign of a good player if he can be 0-for-3 and still get a hit in the fourth at bat. Some of our guys showed that today. Our better at bats were at the end of the game. Just battling, hitting balls hard, controlling counts, and playing hard. Those guys did a great job.
On Tanner Allen’s triple in the sixth inning
CL: I turned to one of my coaches and said, ‘this is the guy we need at the plate in this moment.’ If anyone is going to be able to do it, it is going to be him. It was a great match up for us at that point and a good match up for them too. When [Broadway] fell behind 2-0, we had a feeling TA was going to get a swing off. He has been really good lately, when we need a big hit, he has gotten it for us.
Brayland Skinner reached on a fielder’s choice and promptly stole second base in front of Lane Forsythe’s RBI single through the right side.
Mississippi State 1, Ole Miss 0
A walk for Jacob Gonzalez before a Peyton Chatagnier single put two on base with two outs. Back-to-back walks plated one to tie up the game early.
Mississippi State 1, Ole Miss 1
Hayden Leatherwood hit a solo home run to right field to give Ole Miss the lead.
Ole Miss 2, Mississippi State 1
Rowdey Jordan responded with a solo home run to left field to knot the score.
Mississippi State 2, Ole Miss 2
Leatherwood hit his second home run of the game, this time after a walk to TJ McCants.
Ole Miss 4, Mississippi State 2
Logan Tanner singled up the middle and Josh Hatcher followed with one through the right side. A third-straight single for Skinner plated one before Scotty Dubrule shot one through the left side to bring the game-tying run across. A three-RBI triple for Tanner Allen rounded out the scoring for the Bulldogs and provided the eventual game-winning runs.
Mississippi State 7, Ole Miss 4
Cael Baker singled to center field to start the inning and scored when Ben Van Cleve reached on a fielding error.
Mississippi State 7, Ole Miss 5
The 10th week of the college baseball season will bring UAB to Dudy Noble Field for a Tuesday, April 20 contest at 6:30, before Mississippi State heads to Vanderbilt for another top-five showdown in SEC play. The Friday, April 23 and Saturday, April 24 contests will be carried on the SEC Network, with each game starting at 7 p.m. CT.