By Adam Brown
No.6 Ole Miss dropped a 5-2 decision to in-state rival the No. 4 Mississippi State Bulldogs on Friday night in game one of the series.
Ole Miss (25-9, 8-5 SEC) found themselves in an early 1-0 hole in the first inning after the Bulldogs Tanner Allen delivered a one-out double and came into score on a base knock by Kamren James.
The Rebels starter Gunnar Hoglund settled in after the run by getting a strikeout to end the frame.
“(Gunnar) was terrific tonight,” head coach Mike Bianco said. “Minus Allen in the lineup probably would’ve had a shutout. He’s tough. When you are facing really good hitters with really three mistakes on the night. He was once again brilliant.”
Ole Miss quickly responded with a run of their own in the third with two outs. As Cale Baker got the first base hit of the day with a rip to left. Two batters later after Jacob Gonzalez walked Peyton Chatagnier brought Baker home on an infield single to short.
TJ McCants gave the Rebels the lead in the fourth with a solo home run to right field.
“He was basically throwing me a lot of curveballs,” McCants said. “That certain pitch I was looking for a fastball and I saw it spin up and he left it over the plate. So I attacked it and got a good barrel on it.”
Hoglund gave up a home run in the bottom of the fourth to James that tied the game at 2-2.
Mississippi State’s Allen got a triple in the sixth and came home on a sac fly by James. 3-2 MSU. Allen finished the night going 3-for-4 with two runs. James went 2-for-2 with a run and four RBI.
Hoglund (3-2) finished the night going 7.0 innings allowed three runs on four hits no walks and struck out nine Bulldogs.
“We knew it was going to be a battle coming into it,” Hoglund said. “ I made some pitches and they took advantage of some. I was just trying to battle and compete and go as long as I can.”
In the eighth, Derek Diamond came from the bullpen and tried to keep the game at one run scored for the Rebels. Mississippi State added their two final runs of the night.
Ole Miss down to their last three outs had Hayden Dunhurst to lead off the inning. He roped a double to left-center. Justin Bench lined into a double play at short and McCants struck out for the final out.
Ole Miss and Mississippi State play game two of the series on Saturday. The first pitch is set for 2 p.m. on SEC Network+.