By Adam Brown
Ole Miss’ comeback falls short as the Mississippi State Bulldogs evened the series on Friday night by the score of 10-7.
Ole Miss’ (22-16, 6-11 SEC) offense got off to a hot start in the first two innings with four home runs by Justin Bench, Jacob Gonzalez, Tim Elko and Peyton Chatagnier. This season, the Rebels have hit a total of 67 home runs.
Mississippi State jumped out to an early lead after a solo shot by Luke Hancock in the first to right field.
The Rebels southpaw freshman Hunter Elliott made quick work of Mississippi State’s first two sluggers.
Ole Miss quickly answered with three runs of their own in the home half of the first with back-to-back-to-back solo home runs by Bench, Gonzalez and Elko all in the first four pitches by the Bulldogs starter Preston Johnson.
It marked the second time this season that Ole Miss has hit three home runs in a row. The last time was on March 4, in the opening game of the series against UCF in an 8-7 victory.
The Rebels second baseman joined in on the home run action in the second with a solo shot to left by Chatagnier.
Elliott worked around a one-out bases-loaded jam in the third with back-to-back strikeouts in the frame. The Tupelo, Mississippi native worked four innings and allowed one run on four hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
Ole Miss brought freshman right-hander Riley Maddox out of the bullpen in the fifth to face the Bulldogs. Maddox tossed 1.2 innings surrendered two runs on five hits with a strikeout and a walk.
Mississippi State scratched for two runs in the sixth after a double Brad Cumbest his teammate Jeff Davis drove him in on a double. The Bulldog’s second baseman RJ Yeager brought Davis in for the score.
Jack Dougherty came in and worked a 0.1 inning allowing four runs on four hits. Ole Miss then turned to Brandon Johnson and Mason Nichols.
The Bulldogs regained the lead in the seventh after a two-run blast by Hunter Hines and Kellum Clark both hit two-run shots to give Mississippi State a 7-4 advantage.
In the eighth, Mississippi tacked on three runs on a double by Cumbest, a ground out by Davis and a double by Logan Forsythe.
In the home half of the eighth, the Rebels draw within three runs after a base knock by Gonzalez and a bases-clearing double off the bat of Kemp Alderman.
Ole Miss and Mississippi State will play the rubber game of the series on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN 2.