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Ole Miss Defeats Mississippi State 8-5 in Series Finale

Catcher Henri Lartigue went 3-for-5 with two runs and a career-high three RBI to lead No. 11 Ole Miss past No. 5 Mississippi State, 8-5, Sunday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field. Third baseman Colby Bortles knocked in three runs and made numerous plays with his glove to help the Rebels (21-7, 3-6 SEC) claim the series finale over the rival Bulldogs (20-8-1, 6-3 SEC).

Junior Wyatt Short (2-1) tossed four innings of relief to earn the victory. David Parkinson retired all three batters he faced in relief, while Will Stokes (3) finished things out on the mound for his third save of the season.

Along with big days from Lartigue and Bortles, Errol Robinson went 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run. Tate Blackman also tallied a hit to reach base for the 14th straight game. As a team, the Ole Miss bats knocked 10 hits.

MSU had multi-hit days from three Bulldogs, including Gavin Collins and Nathaniel Lowe who belted home runs in the eighth. Mississippi State used six pitchers throughout the contest, and Ryan Rigby (3-1) suffered the loss in four innings of work.

Ole Miss scored runs in the first two innings to take the early lead. The first inning continued to be the Rebels’ most successful frame of the season as a Bortles RBI single scored Ryan Olenek from second base. In the bottom half, Sean Johnson sent the Bulldogs down in order.

Leading off the second, Lartigue left the yard with a solo blast to left field, doubling the lead to two. Base hits by Michael Fitzsimmons and J.B. Woodman helped load the bases and force MSU starting pitcher Daniel Brown out of the game. However, Rigby worked a groundball double play to end the inning. After the Bulldogs escaped the big inning, MSU catcher Elih Marrero doubled in a pair of runs to tie the game at 2-2 after two.

Bortles broke the tie in the top of the fifth with his second hit of the game. With one out and two Rebels in scoring position, the junior third baseman roped a single to left field. Olenek easily scored, and Blackman rolled in from second, beating the throw to the plate. Ole Miss maintained the 4-2 lead after Short worked out of a jam in the bottom half of the frame. Two hits brought the go-ahead run to the plate, but the southpaw sent a Bulldog down on strikes before picking off another at second to complete the inning.

The Rebels added another run in the sixth. Robinson doubled down the left field line before using heads-up base running to sneak into third on a ball in the dirt. With one out and Robinson 90 feet away from home, the Bulldogs brought their infield in to try and prevent another run from scoring. However, on a Cameron Dishon chopper to the shortstop, Robinson slid under the tag to increase the margin to three, 5-2.

Lartigue nearly homered from both sides of the plate but had to settle for a ground-rule double as a lefty in the top of the eighth. The catcher advanced to third on a balk before scoring on a Robinson infield single. Robinson raced down the line to beat the throw to first and bump the Ole Miss cushion to four runs.

After keeping MSU off the board for four straight innings, Short left the game after two home runs cut the lead to a single run, 6-5. With no outs in the inning, Parkinson retired three straight hitters to end the inning and keep the Rebels in front.

Ole Miss used two insurance runs in the ninth to get a little breathing room. Two walks and a hit by pitch loaded the bases, and Lartigue delivered once again. His third hit of the day, a single to left field, plated a pair of Rebels to bring the score to 8-5. Stokes came in to seal the deal, shutting the door on the Bulldogs to complete the rivalry win.

Up next, Ole Miss starts the week away from Swayze Field before returning to its home diamond for the weekend. On Tuesday (April 5), the Rebels will head south to face Southern Miss in a neutral site game at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Mississippi. Ole Miss will follow the midweek matchup with a weekend series at Swayze Field versus nationally ranked Arkansas (April 8-10).

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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