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State takes the series over the Rebs with 5-3 win in rubber game

State takes the series over the Rebs with 5-3 win in rubber game

STARKVILLE, Miss.It stood to reason the rubber game between the last two national champions would stretch into the late innings. Mississippi State scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on a Hunter Hines two-run shot that proved to be the difference in the game as the Bulldogs defeated the Rebels, 5-3.

(Click here for box score.)

On the bright side, Ole Miss is only two games off the pace it was at this time this season. Then the Rebs got hot.

Still, there’s no denying this one hurt. Head coach Mike Bianco talked about the series after the game-three loss. 

“Tough day and a tough weekend for us,” Bianco said.

“I thought we competed so hard this weekend. But that doesn’t win you the games, just sometimes puts you in position to win the games. We just didn’t make the plays, make the pitches to win the game. At some point, somebody has got to be the star…in these close games in the SEC a rivalry game, somebody has to make the big play or make the big hit and in the last two days, they got more of those than we did.”

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco

 Ole Miss seemed to have something going in the top of the first inning when Jacob Gonzalez doubled to the right centerfield gap.

But Gonzalez was left stranded there and State dodged a bullet.

The Bulldogs also threatened in the first. But with two men on base, Ethan Lege fielded a grounder, stepped on third base and fired across the diamond to complete a close double play to end the inning.

In the third, State took the lead on Dakota Jordan’s three-run homer to put the Bulldogs on top.

The Rebels finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth inning. After Gonzalez walked and moved to third on a Kemp Alderman double, the Ole Miss shortstop was able to score when Anthony Calarco bounced out to close the gap to 3-1.

In the seventh, Ole Miss pulled to within one run. Following the blueprint of last year’s national title game, Peyton Chatagnier scored on a wild pitch.

The Rebels then put runners at the corners with one out. A walk was issued to Calvin Harris after that to load the bases for the Rebs.

Alderman then drove in the tying run with a shot to third base that was too hot to handle and the Rebels still had the bases loaded with a tie score. But the rally stopped there when Calarco bounced into a double play to end the threat.

In the bottom half of the seventh, a leadoff walk and a 2-run homer gave State a 5-3 lead the Bulldogs would not relinquish, as they took two games of the three-game series.

On the mound

JT Quinn pitched 5.2 innings for Ole Miss, giving up four hits and three runs (all earned). He walked five and struck out three while throwing 93 total pitches.

Coach Bianco was asked about Quinn’s performance.

I thought he was good. To come here in this environment, your father’s former school, I’m sure there were a lot of emotions running through his body. To get out of the first-inning jam, to give up the three-run home run to Jordan but then to be able to bounce back and pitch into the sixth. We said it all year, we’ve got a lot of freshman who are running out there. He’s handled it better than any of the guys. I’m sure he wants to win the game; once again on Sunday he gives us the opportunity to win the game, but we just don’t do enough.”

Coach Bianco on JT Quinn

Cole Ketchum (.2 innings) came on in relief, followed by Jackson Kimbrell  (.1 innings) and Mitch Murrell. Ketchum and Kimbrell each gave up a run, while Murrell held State scoreless for his 1.1 innings pitched.

After the game, Bianco talked about his bullpen.

When you lose close games, it’s tough…we’ve got to be better. There’s enough to blame to go around. I thought (Mitch) Murrell pitched his heart out…we just have to be better all the way around.

Coach Bianco on his relief pitching

Next Up

The Rebels continue on the road with a game against Arkansas State on Tuesday with first pitch set for 6:00 p.m. Then, they’ll head home to Swayze to host the nation’s No. 1 team, LSU, in a Friday-Sunday series.

Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.

He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.

A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.

Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.

He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.

Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.

About The Author

Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers. He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio. A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series. Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time. He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk. Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.

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