Why is Ole Miss beginning its three-game series on a Thursday night? Because it’s being broadcast on ESPNU for the second time this season.
Tonight’s game is set for a 6:30 start.
Both teams need a successful weekend to help make a late push to gain entrance into the Southeastern Conference Tournament (and, in doing so, the NCAA Tournament).
As of tonight, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are in a three-way tie with Auburn for seventh in the SEC (LSU is three games back at 8-16). Only the top eight teams make Hoover.
UNDERSTANDING THE RIVALRY: Ole Miss’ roster has just nine players from the Magnolia State, but that doesn’t mean they don’t understand the importance of the rivalry with MSU. According to sophomore center fielder Tanner Mathis and Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco, the rivalry transcends state borders.
Below is a video of Mathis discussing the rivalry prior to Tuesday’s practice:
MISSISSIPPI STATE (30-18 overall, 11-13 SEC)
CF C.T. Bradford .294 BA
DH Cody Freeman .307
3B Jarrod Parks .418
2B Nick Vickerson .316
RF Jaron Shepherd .309
LF Brent Brownlee .268
1B Ryan Collins .277
SS Jonathan Ogden .260
C Wes Thigpen
LHP Louis Pollorena (6-3, 2.61 ERA)
OLE MISS (27-21, 11-13)
CF Tanner Mathis .343
SS Blake Newalu .295
2B Alex Yarbrough .344
DH Matt Snyder .271
RF Matt Tracy .297
1B Will Allen .343
C Miles Hamblin .268
LF Preston Overbey .235
3B Austin Anderson .246
LHP Matt Crouse (6-4, 3.72 ERA)
MISSISSIPPI STATE 1, Ole Miss 0 (TOP 1): Ole Miss starter Matt Crouse struggled a bit in the first inning. After getting the first two batters out, .400-hitter Jarrod Parks reached via a fielding error and scored two at-bats later on a single to right field by Jaron Shepherd. Crouse also issued two walks in the frame.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 2, Ole Miss 0 (TOP 2): MSU took a 2-0 lead courtesy of a deep fly ball to center field by C.T. Bradford that allowed Jonathan Ogden to tag and score from third. Ogden led off the frame with a double down the third base line.
Mississippi State 2, OLE MISS1 (BOTTOM 2): Miles Hamblin puts Ole Miss on the scoreboard with a single up the middle, scoring Matt Snyder from second base.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 4, Ole Miss 1 (TOP 3): Former Oxford Charger Brent Brownlee hits a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Parks from third. Ryan Collins then records a double to LF, scoring Nick Vickerson from third.
Mississippi State 4, OLE MISS 2 (BOTTOM 4): Freshman Will Allen led off the frame with a solo homer into the Ole Miss bullpen, just over Brownlee’s glove.
OLE MISS 5, Mississippi State 4 (BOTTOM 7): Alex Yarbrough powered Ole Miss into the lead with a no-doubter home run over the left field wall off of relief pitcher Chad Girodo. It was Yarbrough’s seventh homer of the season and scored Blake Newalu and Tanner Mathis.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 7, Ole Miss 5 (TOP : MSU tied the game on a bunt by Brownlee. Closer Bobby Wahl fielded the bunt, turned to first, but no one was there for the sacrifice out, allowing Nick Vickerson to score from third and Shepherd to advance to second base. With two outs, Wahl strikes out Adam Frazier, but a poor throw from Hamblin attempting to throw out Shepherd gets past third baseman Austin Anderson and Shepherd scores. Wes Thigpen‘s single to LF then scored Brownlee.
Mississippi State 7, OLE MISS 6 (BOTTOM 9): Ole Miss was able to push one run across in the ninth on a double play off the bat of Matt Tracy, but Allen struck out looking with Yarbrough at third to end the game.
Despite serving up the three-run homer, Mississippi State’s Chad Girodo picked up the win. He was charged with just one run on two hits in 0.1 of an inning.
Wahl was charged with the loss — his first of his collegiate career — after surrendering three runs (two earned) on four hits in 2.0 innings. He also struck out two.
Brownlee finished the game 1-for-2 with two RBIs, one walk and one run scored. He also had a stolen base and a sacrifice fly.
Ole Miss and MSU will return to the diamond at 6:30 on Friday. The game will be televised on SportSouth. (May 12, 2011)