STARKVILLE, Miss. – In a back and forth battle that saw rally after rally squelched, it came down to extra innings as No. 13 Ole Miss (28-9, 8-6 SEC) fell to No. 13 Mississippi State (22-14, 7-7 SEC) by a score of 6-5 in 10 innings.
Seven combined runs crossed the plate in the 10th inning after the two teams combined for only four runs in the previous nine innings.
Sikes Orvis hit a two-run shot in the top of the 10th and Preston Overbey added a third run on a sac fly to center to put the Rebels in position to claim the weekend series with a win. Mississippi State answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning to claim the walk-off win and force a rubber game on Sunday.
“That was a disappointing ending to the game,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We played hard today and it made it tougher when they got into their bullpen with Lindgren and Holder. We kind of weathered that and Christian (Trent) gave us a chance to win with his performance. It was huge to have both (Scott) Weathersby and (Josh) Laxer get us out of jams.
“It was just disappointing because we had the game.”
Laxer (2-1) took the loss in relief, allowing four runs – only one earned – on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts through 2.1 innings of work.
Vance Tatum (1-0) picked up the win in relief, working the final out of the 10th inning for the Bulldogs to get Mississippi State out of the inning, though the home team was trailing 5-2 when he entered the game and sent things to the home half of the inning.
Mississippi State scored first in the Saturday game, putting the first two runners on with a single and a hit by pitch before a sac bunt and sac fly would bring a run home. Trent then got a fly out to end the inning with the Rebels down 1-0 after the first inning of play.
The Bulldogs added to the lead in the third, getting a two-out single through the right side from Gavin Collins to bring home Alex Detz from second. Detz reached on a single through the right side and moved to second on a shallow single to center that dropped in ahead of a charging Auston Bousfield. Trent then got a fly out from Wes Read for the second out, but Mississippi State got the base hit in the next at bat to take the lead out to 2-0 before Trent would get the Rebels out of the inning.
Preston Overbey opened the fifth with a single up the middle and Mississippi State responded by turning to the bullpen for the left-hander Lindgren. The southpaw got a strikeout of his first batter faced, but back-to-back singles from Braxton Lee and Auston Bousfield loaded the bases. A wild pitch then brought the first run home as Overbey slid in at the plate and Lindgren dropped the ball trying to make the play.
With two men in scoring position and one out on the board, Austin Anderson then hit a ground ball to second, bringing Lee home and moving Bousfield to third as the Rebels tied the game.
The Bulldogs looked to put together an answering rally with two outs in the seventh. Following a pair of foul pop ups and a walk, Mississippi State’s Wes Read drew a walk to put two men on base and send the Rebels to the bullpen for right-hander Scott Weathersby to relieve starter Christian Trent.
Collins drew a third walk in the inning for the Bulldogs to load the bases. Weathersby then got a fly ball to center from Derrick Armstrong to strand all three runners and get the Rebels out of the inning with no damage.
Ole Miss loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but Mississippi State closer Jonathan Holder got a groundout to third to end the inning and strand three Rebels to keep the game tied 2-2 heading to the home half of the eighth.
After keeping the Rebels off the board in the eighth, the Bulldogs put together the go-ahead rally in the home half of the inning. Pinch hitter Jake Vickerson led off the inning with a double down the right field line as Ole Miss went to the bullpen for left-hander Jeremy Massie.
C.T. Badford then lay down a sac bunt, advancing Vickerson to third as the Rebels again played matchups and went to the bullpen for right-hander Josh Laxer. The junior right-hander struck out the next two batters looking to end the inning and keep the game knotted at two runs each.
Ole Miss had a chance in the top of the ninth, getting a two-out single to left from Anderson, but Lee was thrown out at the plate to end the inning and keep the game tied once again.
Mississippi State got a one-out single through the right side from Brett Pirtle in the ninth in another attempted rally for the Bulldogs. Laxer recorded a strikeout of Bulldog slugger Wes Rea, but a two-out single to left center from Collins kept the inning alive. A walk of Derrick Armstrong loaded the bases but Laxer got another foul fly to end the inning and send the game to extra innings.
Allen opened the 10th with a single up the middle before Sikes Orvis delivered a two-run shot over the wall in right center to put the Rebels on top 4-2. Holt Perdzock then delivered a single up the middle before being replaced on the base path by Dalton Dulin. The freshman promptly stole second and third around a strikeout, before coming home on a sac fly to centerfield from Overbey to take the lead out to 5-2 in favor of the Rebels.
Mississippi State mounted an answering rally in the bottom of the 10th, starting with a one-out double to center from pinch hitter Cody Brown. Seth Heck then hit an RBI double to left to bring Brown across the plate and cut the lead to 5-3.
A throwing error on a ground ball to second then put men at the corners, before a sac fly to center from Pirtle before Rea hit a ball that dropped in ahead of a charging Will Jamison in right to tie the game at five with two outs on the board. Ole Miss then turned to the bullpen for right-hander Preston Tarkington.
The Bulldogs got the hit that was needed, however, when Collins drove a single through the left side to score pinch runner and claim the 6-5 win.
The two teams will close out the series with the deciding game of the three-game series at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
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