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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rebels take doubleheader from No. 21 Mississippi State

VIDEO BLOG: Rivalry weekend is upon us again.

The day-long cloud that hovered over Oxford has lifted and it appears No. 21 Mississippi State and Ole Miss will kick off their three-game series at Oxford-University Stadium on time tonight at 6:30.

Mother Nature pulled a fast one Friday.Oxford’s day-long cloud coverage cleared just long enough for No. 21 Mississippi State and Ole Miss to record three outs at Oxford-University Stadium before the sky opened again with a heavy rain. Due to the precipitation, Game 1 between the Bulldogs and Rebels was suspended until Saturday. Game 1 will resume with the Rebels batting in the bottom of the first at 3 p.m. Game 2 of the three-game set will begin 40 minutes after the opener’s conclusion. You’ll find game blogs for both of Saturday’s contests below.

Earlier this week the Rebels (33-16 overall, 12-12 SEC) said all the usual things regarding the diamond version of the Egg Bowl. While they said they try not to put extra stock in a game that is weight equal to every other Southeastern Conference game, they acknowledged the series means a lot to most folks who reside within the Magnolia State’s border.

Ole Miss’ roster is only comprised of nine Mississippians, but head coach Mike Bianco said where his players call home is a non-factor when it comes to playing the Bulldogs (36-13, 13-11).

“Regardless of where you were born or where you’re from, I think everybody understands the rivalry and appreciates the rivalry,” Bianco said in today’s print edition of the Oxford EAGLE. “I don’t think it matters if you’re from California or Pennsylvania or Florida, I think you get it.”

Sophomore outfielder Auston Bousfield, who hails from Florida, said the rivalry hit home once he arrived in Starkville last year.

“It’s a big rivalry and not something we take lightly. You understand once you see it all on Friday night,” he said. “I think there’s a little more edge and want to.”

Prior to Wednesday’s practice, junior catcher Stuart Turner, who transferred to Ole Miss from LSU-Eunice, said he understands what the series means to the fans.

“Just being here for one year and hearing people talk about how much they don’t like us and want to win bad,” Turner said. “You just have to come out here, play your best. You can’t make it too big. You just have to play hard and win pitches.”

MATHIS GOOD TO GO: Thursday morning the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal’s Parrish Alford reported that senior left fielder Tanner Mathis was seen on campus using crutches. Prior to Thursday’s practice, Bianco confirmed Mathis had an infection in his left knee and was using crutches to take pressure off his leg. Bianco went on to say that he was “more than hopeful” Ole Miss’ leadoff hitter would be in the lineup this weekend. As it turns out he was correct as Mathis is penciled into his normal leadoff spot, playing left field.

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: Ole Miss is just 5-7 against SEC foes at O-U Stadium, but even with the sub-.500 record the Rebels say there’s nowhere else they’d rather be this weekend.

“We’ve played well on the road, but I think if you ask anybody you’d much rather play at home,” Bianco said. “We love our stadium and love our fans. It’s a great atmosphere and certainly we’d much rather be here than Starkville.

“Our guys feel good at home. We’ve lost some close games at home and that record could easily be a little different if we made a couple more pitches and plays.”

Added tonight’s starter, Bobby Wahl: “We feel like we’re in the game no matter where it is, especially here. The energy the fans bring, it wears off on us. The fans play a huge part in our energy.”

BRAMLETT OUT: Earlier this week it was announced that freshman right-hander Brady Bramlett will miss the remainder of the 2013 season and possibly a portion of (if not the entire) 2014 season due to a labrum injury.

The injury hurts Ole Miss on several fronts. For starters, while Bramlett was only a mid-week starter this season and didn’t face an SEC opponent, with the postseason coming up the more pitchers a team has the better. Looking ahead, with the Rebels likely losing Wahl and Mike Mayers, two-thirds of this season’s rotation, Bramlett looked like a viable weekend option.

In his freshman campaign, the highly-touted right-hander was 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA. Touted by Bianco as a strike thrower, Bramlett struck out 24 against just 11 walks in 24 innings and held opponents to a .198 batting average.

For complete coverage from the Oxford EAGLE, click HERE. And HERE for our full Ole Miss baseball photo gallery.

———AROUND THE LEAGUE———

Thursday’s Result
Texas A&M 2, LSU 1

Friday’s Results
Mississippi State at Ole Miss, 6:30 p.m. (SUSPENDED UNTIL 5/11; Tied 0-0 after top of the first)
Vanderbilt at Kentucky, 5:30 p.m. (POSTPONED UNTIL 5/11)
Auburn 7, Florida 4
South Carolina 7, Georgia 2
Alabama 9, Missouri 7
LSU at Texas A&M, 6:30 p.m. (CSS) (SUSPENDED UNTIL 5/11; LSU leads 7-2, top seven)
Tennessee 8, Arkansas 3

Saturday’s Games
Mississippi State
 at Ole Miss, 4 p.m.
Georgia at South Carolina, noon (CSS)
LSU at Texas A&M, noon (ESPN)
Missouri at Alabama, 1 p.m. (SportSouth)
Auburn at Florida, 6 p.m.
Tennessee at Arkansas, 6 p.m.
Vanderbilt at Kentucky, 6 p.m. (CSS) 

Sunday’s Games
Mississippi State
 at Ole Miss, 1 p.m. (CSS)
Missouri at Alabama, 11:30 a.m.
Auburn at Florida, noon
Vanderbilt at Kentucky, noon (Fox Sports South)
Georgia at South Carolina, 12:30 p.m. (SportSouth)
Tennessee at Arkansas, 1 p.m. (Cox)

———STARTING LINEUPS———

No. 21 MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS (36-13 overall, 13-11 SEC)
SS Adam Frazier (.323 BA/.379 OBP/.448 SLG)
3B Alex Detz (.285/.433/.380)
RF Hunter Renfroe (.394/.488/.781)
2B Brett Pirtle (.309/.429/.417)
1B Wes Rea (.290/.398/.486)
CF C.T. Bradford (.296/.374/.333)
DH Trey Porter (.256/.323/.360)
C Nick Ammirati (.269/.339/.317)
LF Jacob Robson (.247/.344/.273)
LHP Luis Pollorena (6-2, 3.92 ERA)

OLE MISS REBELS (33-16, 12-12)
LF Tanner Mathis (.250/.382/.283)
SS Austin Anderson (.297/.388/.386)
C Stuart Turner (.397/.454/.580)
3B Andrew Mistone (.303/.375/.371)
CF Auston Bousfield (.291/.381/.381)
1B Sikes Orvis (.277/.350/.376)
RF Preston Overbey (.278/.321/.399)
DH Will Allen (.235/.275/.300)
2B Christian Helsel (.240/.316/.280)
RHP Bobby Wahl (9-0, 1.21)

———FRIDAY’S SUMMARY———

***GAME SUSPENDED: Due to heavy rainfall that started after the top of the first inning, Game 1 has officially been suspended. Game 1 will resume with the bottom of the first at 3 p.m. Saturday. Game 2 will begin 40 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1.***

Ole Miss starter Bobby Wahl got off to a hot start. Although MSU slugger Hunter Renfroe reached base via an error from shortstop Austin Anderson, Wahl opened the game with three strikeouts (two looking). Wahl recorded five strikeouts at Auburn last weekend and just three the week before against Kentucky.

Below is Ole Miss’ release:

Inclement weather that hit the Oxford area in the middle of the first inning forced the suspension of Friday’s series-opening game between No. 20 Ole Miss (33-16, 12-12 SEC) and No. 13 Mississippi State (36-13, 13-11 SEC).

Following a top of the first that saw Rebel starter Bobby Wahl strikeout the side around a fielding error at short, the rains came down with Ole Miss coming to the plate and forcing the suspension of the contest.

The game will resume at 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon at Swayze Field, with game two of the series being played 40 minutes following the conclusion of game one.

Fans will be admitted to the games with Friday or Saturday tickets in the grandstand. Friday’s ticket will be good for the seats in game one, if someone shows up for game two and has tickets for a seat, fans are asked to move to a general admission area out of respect for the fan who has tickets for that seat in game two.

Diamond Club members are asked to present their ticket for Saturday’s game to gain admission. Those with tickets for Friday’s game are asked to check in with the ticket office and members of the Ole Miss ticket office staff will work to make accommodations for those fans.

———GAME 1 SCORING SUMMARY———

OLE MISS 1, Miss. State 0 (Bottom 5): Ole Miss designated hitter Will Allen broke up the pitching duel in the bottom of the fifth by swatting the first pitch he saw from MSU starter Luis Pollorena over the wall in left field. It looked like MSU left fielder Jacob Robson was going to track down a long fly ball, but it hit off the top of the wall, just to the left of the 365-foot marker in left-center, and bounced over for Allen’s third homer of the season.

OLE MISS 2, Miss. State 0 (Bottom 6): Sikes Orvis‘ bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the sixth inning brought in another Ole Miss run. Stuart Turner reached base on a two-out single. Following another single by Andrew Mistone and a balk call, Auston Bousfield was walked to load the bases for Orvis. Relief pitcher Ross Mitchell issued the two walks before getting Preston Overbey to ground out to shortstop to end the frame.

OLE MISS 3, Miss. State 0 (Bottom 8): MSU got into more bases-loaded trouble in the eighth. Singles by Mistone and Bousfield, and a four-pitch walk to Orvis loaded the bases for pinch hitter Austin Knight. The catcher flew out to right field on the first pitch he saw, but it was deep enough to score Mistone.

FINAL SCORE: Ole Miss 3, No. 21 Mississippi State 0

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: It should come as no surprise to fans on both sides of the rivalry that the game had a few tense moments at the end. After Mike Mayers pitched seven scoreless innings in relief of Bobby Wahl, Ole Miss closer Brett Huber put runners on the corners in the ninth on two walks before striking out pinch hitter Mitch Slauter looking to secure Ole Miss’ first shutout of Mississippi State since Will Kline commanded a 1-0 whitewashing on April 11, 2006 to claim the Mayor’s Trophy. It’s also the first time Ole Miss has shutout the Bulldogs in SEC play since Matt Maloney threw a 5-0 shutout on April 30, 2005. During that same span, MSU has blanked Ole Miss twice. The game also marks the first time Miss. State has been shut out this season. The last occurrence? A 5-0 loss to Samford in Tallahassee (Fla.) Regional.

BY THE NUMBERS: Mayers evened his season record at 4-4 with the win. The junior right-hander allowed two singles and two walks over seven innings in relief. He also struck out five. Although he allowed two walks, Huber still pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 11th save of the season and 37th of his career. Wahl opened the game by striking out three in the first inning. … Mistone and Allen led all batters with two hits.

———GAME 2 SCORING SUMMARY———

MISS. STATE 2, Ole Miss 0 (Top 1): MSU had two hits in Game 1. The Bulldogs scored two runs on five singles in the first inning of Game 2 off usual Sunday starter Sam Smith. Wes Rea‘s single, the fourth consecutive base knock for MSU with one out, scored Alex Detz. Following a fly out by C.T. Bradford, Sam Frost singled to right, scoring Hunter Renfroe. Brett Pirtle got a bit greedy trying to score from second on the play as was thrown out at home to end the frame.

OLE MISS 4, Miss. State 2 (Bottom 1): MSU starter Kendall Gravemen had plenty of problems of his own in the bottom of the first, surrendering four runs on two hits and three walks. With the bases loaded, Auston Bousfield hit a one-out triple to left-center, scoring Tanner Mathis, Andrew Mistone and Stuart Turner. Two batters later Holt Perdzock hit a sacrifice fly to left field deep enough to allow Bousfield to tag and score.

Ole Miss 4, MISS. STATE 3 (Top 3): Rea chipped away at Ole Miss’ lead with an RBI single. MSU eventually worked the bases loaded with two outs, but Smith got Mitch Slauter to fly out to right field to end the top of the third.

OLE MISS 6, Miss. State 3 (Bottom 5): Bousfield continued to add to his big day in the fifth, driving in two runs on a one-out double down the left field line.

OLE MISS 8, Miss. State 3 (Bottom 6): A weird game got weirder in the sixth. With two away and Mathis on first courtesy of a walk, Mistone hit a sharp grounder to the left side. Frost made a great diving stab at third base but air mailed the throw to second base. As Mathis rounded second, Renfroe tried to get the Rebel at third but skipped the throw past Frost. Mathis scored on the second error of the play. Austin Anderson then singled to center, scoring Mistone.

Ole Miss 8, MISS. STATE 5 (Top 7): MSU tacked on two runs in the seventh off Ole Miss right-handed reliever Chris Ellis with RBI-singles by Renfroe and Rea. Reliever Tanner Bailey, Ole Miss’ third pitcher of the inning, induced a double play to short to get out of the jam with the Rebels still ahead.

OLE MISS 10, Miss. State 5 (Bottom 7): Mathis pushed Ole Miss’ lead out to 10-5 in the bottom of the seventh with a bases-loaded single up the middle against MSU reliever Will Cox, scoring Preston Overbey and Will Jamison.

Ole Miss 10, MISS. STATE 7 (Top 8): Detz’s two-out single through the right side scored Demarcus Henderson from second base. Renfroe followed it up with his own RBI-single to right, scoring Adam Frazier and advancing Detz to third. Tanner Bailey struck out Brett Pirtle to strand runners on the corners.

Ole Miss 10, MISS. STATE 8 (Top 9): The Bulldogs gave the Rebels one last scare in the top of the ninth. Henderson’s two-out single to left plated the Bulldogs’ eighth run of the game and brought the go-ahead run in Frazier to the plate. The MSU shortstop looked like he might add to the visitor’s score with a sharp liner to shallow center field, but Bousfield charged the ball and made a diving grab coming in to preserve Bailey’s third save. The acrobatic grab also secured Ole Miss’ first series victory against its in-state rivals since the Rebels swept the Bulldogs in 2010.

FINAL SCORE: Ole Miss 10, No. 21 Miss. State 8

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: Game 2 was very different from the prolonged series opener as the two teams combined for 18 runs on 28 hits after the Rebels two-hit the Bulldogs in Game 1. … Sam Smith improved to 3-0 on the year after allowing three runs in six innings, tied for his career-long. Smith has had a knack lately for giving the Rebels enough to earn a win. Including Saturday, Smith has allowed a total of seven earned runs in his last five starts (against Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Auburn and Mississippi State). Jeremy Massie, Ellis and Bailey pitched the remaining three innings, allowing five runs. … MSU starter Kendall Graveman was hit with the loss, allowing a career-high six earned runs in 4.1 innings.

BY THE NUMBERS: Bousfield continues to swing a hot bat. The sophomore was 3-for-5 batting fifth in the order with a career-high five RBIs, surpassing his previous high of two. Anderson and Jamison also had two hits apiece for Ole Miss while Mathis drove in two runs, a first this season for the senior. … Detz had a game-high four hits. Renfroe and Rea each had three hits, while Frazier and Frost had two hits apiece for Miss. State, which accumulated 17 against the Rebels’ four pitchers.

BACK AT IT: Ole Miss will look for its first sweep against Mississippi State on Sunday with a 1 p.m. start. The game, which will feature former MSU No. 1 Jacob Lindgren (4-2) against Ole Miss ace Bobby Wahl (9-0).

Wahl said he only threw 15 pitches on Friday night (struck out three in the top of the first before the rain hit) so Sunday will be treated like a normal start.

PARTING VIEWS: Below are post-game videos with Mayers, Bousfield and Bianco.

For more from Ole Miss’ doubleheader sweep of No. 21 Mississippi State visit OxfordEAGLE.com.

 (May 10, 2013)

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