BLOG — Mississippi State rallied for four runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to knock off Ole Miss 6-5 Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville, evening the series between the rivals at a game apiece.
The teams combined to score four runs through the first nine, going to extras tied at 2, before combining for seven in the 10th. Ole Miss (28-9, 8-6 Southeastern Conference) pushed across three runs in its half of the frame, the big blow coming in the form of a two-run homer off the bat of first baseman Sikes Orvis against right-hander Jonathan Holder.
“I just got a good pitch to hit,” said Orvis, who just missed a home run in the fourth. “Put a good swing on it and drove it out there. I thought I got the first one. I guess the wind held it up and the guy caught it.”
But Mississippi State (22-14, 7-7) strung together three of its 15 hits in its final at-bat and took advantage of a couple of miscues by the Rebels to pull out the win. Cody Brown and Seth Heck started the rally with back-to-back one-out doubles against right-hander Josh Laxer, who stranded a runner at third in the eighth and ninth innings to preserve the tie.
Laxer got Alex Detz to roll a grounder to second baseman Preston Overbey, but Orvis never saw Overbey’s throw. The ball got away, allowing Detz to reach and Heck to move to third.
“He was ranging over, and when he threw it, I couldn’t see it up there in the scoreboard,” Orvis said. “Just missed it.”
After Brett Pirtle’s sac fly brought the Bulldogs within one, Wes Rea lifted a shallow fly ball along the right-field line. Will Jamison made a diving attempt at the catch, but the ball got past him, allowing Detz to race home to knot the game at 5. Preston Tarkington relieved Laxer, and Gavin Collins lined his fourth pitch into left scoring pinch runner Matthew Britton from second for the winning run.
“Just a disappointing one to lose because we had it,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “We had it, and we blew it.”
Laxer (2-1) was charged with the loss, striking out three in 2.1 innings of relief while allowing five hits and four runs, though only one was earned. Vance Tatum came on for Holder to record the final out in the top of the 10th to pick up his first win.
“He should’ve been able to get out of it,” Bianco said of Laxer’s final inning. “If we catch a fly ball or a ground ball, either one, he gets through it and looks great.”
Ole Miss starter Christian Trent got into the seventh before turning things over to the bullpen. Though he wasn’t as sharp as he was a week earlier in a complete-game shutout against Auburn, the sophomore lefty scattered eight hits and struck out three before leaving with the game tied at 2.
Ole Miss did little to solve Mississippi State starter Trevor Fitts during his time on the bump, managing four hits against the right-hander, but Fitts was pulled with a 2-0 lead in favor of Jacob Lindgren following Preston Overbey’s leadoff single in the fifth. The Rebels pushed across their first two runs in the frame on a wild pitch and Austin’s Anderson’s RBI groundout.
Will Allen led Ole Miss at the plate, going 3-for-5. Anderson and Braxton Lee each had a pair of hits. Pirtle and Collins, who also had two RBIs, finished with three knocks apiece for the Bulldogs.
The teams will play the rubber match Sunday afternoon at 1:30. Right-hander Sam Smith (4-2, 2.22 ERA) will get the ball for Ole Miss. Either Ben Bracewell or Brandon Woodruff will go for Mississippi State. (April 12, 2014)