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No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels Drop First Series of the Season

Thomas Dillard Photo by Steven Gagliano

A rivalry game shows the best of competition and in the final game of the series, No. 3 Ole Miss and Mississippi State both gave it their all for 11 innings.

Mississippi State broke a 5-5 tie with a walk-off home run off the bat of Luke Alexander to win 7-5 and take the series.
Ole Miss (27-6, 7-5 SEC) fell behind early in the first after the Bulldogs’ Jake Mangum scored. Mangum finished the day going 5-5 at the dish with four runs scored.
The Rebels answered in the third inning with a single off the bat of Ryan Olenek, who came into score on a Nick Fortes RBI groundout. Ole Miss then hit back-to-back doubles by Thomas Dillard and Cole Zabowski to score Fortes.
The Bulldogs knotted the game back up in the home half as Mangum came into score after finding a way on base after a hit-by-pitch.
Tyler Keenan crushed a ball in the fifth to break the tie.
Ole Miss starter James McArthur gave way to Dallas Woolfolk in the sixth after a strong performance. Facing a one-out situation with a runner on third, Woolfolk struck out two, including the last out of the inning on just three pitches, to escape the jam and preserve the one-run lead.
The Bulldogs poked back-to-back base hits off of Will Ethridge to start the seventh inning, bringing Parker Caracci out of the bullpen. A bunt led to a throwing error by the Rebel closer to tie the game, and the Bulldogs took the lead on the following at-bat as Tanner Allen grounded into a double play.
With three outs left, the Rebels rallied. Dillard and Zabowski strung together back-to-back base hits to open the inning and chase Cole Gordon, bringing Blake Smith into action. Will Golsan and Keenan then delivered back-to-back sac flies to give Ole Miss a 5-4 advantage.
In the ninth, Mississippi State plated a run to tie the game and send it into extras. Both teams had a chance to take the lead in extra innings before the Bulldogs hit the game winner.


Game 2

In a quick turn around from the first game, Ole Miss came out strong behind a dominating performance by starter Ryan Rolison. The Rebels evened the series with a 6-1 win.

The Rebels got on the scoreboard first as Cole Zawboski singled then advanced to second after a balk by MSU starter Ethan Small, and Tyler Keenan made him pay, sending a two-out single back up the middle to plate Zabowski for the game’s first run. Jacob Adams followed suit, shooting one right back up the middle to make it a 2-0 game.
Mississippi State scratched their only run across in the third inning off of Rolison after back-to-back doubles. The Rebels’ southpaw then got the next two batters retired by way of strikeouts. Rolison worked 7.0 complete innings allowing one run on six hits, while striking out nine and walking two.
In the fourth, Grae Kessinger got a two-out single followed by back-to-back doubles by Ryan Olenek and Nick Fortes to push the lead out to 4-1.
The Rebels added two more runs in the fifth after a leadoff base knock by Will Golsan. Golsan came home on a double off the bat of Chase Cockrell to center field. Cockrell was plated by a fielder’s choice by Adams.
Ole Miss’ hurler was relieved by Will Ethridge who gave Mississippi State batters trouble in the final two innings only giving up two hits and sitting down four to strikeouts.


Game 1

In the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday the Ole Miss Rebels got off to a strong start in the first inning. Grae Kessinger drew a walk to open the game and two batters later, Nick Fortes blasted a two-run, opposite-field shot.
Ole Miss’ starter Brady Feigl had trouble finding his command in the rainy, cold conditions at Dudy Noble Field.
Mississippi State’ offense chipped away with one run in the first and another in the second to tie the game at two. Then in the third inning, the Bulldogs took control with an eight-run deluge. Mississippi State added three more runs in the fifth to put the game out of reach.
Feigl got knocked out of the game early and reliever Greer Holston struggled. Coach Mike Bianco called on the arm of freshman Max Cioffi, who gave a strong outing in 3.1 of scoreless innings of work only allowing two hits.
Mississippi State pulled away with a 13-3 win.
Ole Miss returns to the diamond on Tuesday as they remain on the road to face Southern Mississippi in Pearl. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.


Adam Brown is the sports editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at adam.brown@hottytoddy.com.

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