STARKVILLE, Miss. – It was an all-around dominant performance from the Rebels on Sunday in a rubber-game as No. 13 Ole Miss (29-9, 9-6 SEC) pounded out 20 hits to race past Mississippi State (22-15, 7-8 SEC) for a 12-2 win at Dudy Noble Field.
The win clinched the weekend series for Ole Miss after the Rebels also picked up a 6-1 victory over the Bulldogs in the series opener on Friday night.
Austin Anderson went 4-for-5 at the plate with a pair of RBI, while Preston Overbey went 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored to help pace the Rebel offense. Ole Miss had six players notch multiple-hits in the game.
Sam Smith (5-2) grabbed the win in his seventh consecutive quality start, allowing two runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work. Jeremy Massie then picked up his first save of the season, working the final 3.0 innings for the Rebels on the way to the win.
Ben Bracewell (2-3) took the loss for Mississippi State, allowing two runs on five this with two walks and a strikeout in 2.2 innings of work.
“We’ve had a lot of great moments this year, but yesterday was really hard,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We’ve been that resilient team and we’ve been able to handle it and get back up off the mat. We did that today. I’m really proud of the way we showed up ready to play today. It’s about attitude and approach.
“Sam (Smith) was tremendous for us today and the defense was outstanding,” Bianco said. “Of course, it was all about the offense any time you get 20 hits.”
Ole Miss got on the board in the first inning when Braxton Lee came home from third on a passed ball. Lee walked and then stole second before taking third on a single from Auston Bousfield to set up the score on the pitch that brought him home and moved Bousfield to second. Anderson then doubled to the gap in right center to score Bousfield and the Rebels took a 2-0 lead on the Bulldogs.
The lead continued to grow in the fourth inning as the Rebels pushed four runs home with aggressive base running and timely hits.
A leadoff triple from J.B. Woodman and an infield single from Will Jamison put two men on to start the inning. Overbey then singled through the left side to bring Woodman home and the first of four runs across the plate. A passed ball moved Jamison and Overbey into scoring position before Errol Robinson would single to right to score the Jamison and put men at the corners again as Overbey took third.
The Rebels executed a double steal during the next at bat with Robinson taking second and Overbey sprinting home as the lead grew to 5-0 in favor of Ole Miss. Two outs later, Austin Anderson then drove a ball back up the middle to score Robinson and give the Rebels the six-run lead.
Overbey delivered another RBI with a two-out single to right center in the fifth that brought Jamison home from second. Jamison reached on a walk and stole second to get into position for the Overbey hit that gave the Rebels a 7-0 lead.
Ole Miss continued to add to the advantage in the sixth with two more runs to take the lead to 9-0 on the Bulldogs. With the bases loaded and no outs, Will Allen drove a two-RBI single to right center that brought home Lee and Bousfield. The Rebels loaded the bases with a walk, a single and then a throwing error off a sac bunt attempt from Anderson to set up the score on the Allen hit.
A two-out single to left from Bousfield in the seventh took the lead to double digits for the Rebels. Errol Robinson reached on a throwing error. Robinson took second on the error to get into scoring position for the Bousfield hit that gave Ole Miss a 10-0 lead on Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs got on the board in the home half of the seventh, starting the inning with back-to-back singles off Smith and sending the Rebels to the bullpen for left-hander Jeremy Massie. Pinch hitter Reid Humphreys then hit a double to left to score the first run and leave two men in scoring position as the batting order flipped back to the top for Mississippi State.
Seth Heck then hit a ground ball to third and the Rebels conceded the run for the out, allowing a second run to score from third to get Heck at first. Massie then struck out the next two batters to end the inning and keep Ole Miss on top 10-2 after seven innings of play.
The Rebels moved back on top by 10 runs in the eighth inning after loading the bases to start things off. Overbey drove a single through the left side to bring the first run home before Robinson delivered a sac fly to center to make it a 12-2 lead after the top of the eighth.
Massie then held the Bulldogs in check through the eighth and ninth to pick up the save and clinch the series win.
Ole Miss will return to action on Thursday night, kicking off a three-game series against No. 8 LSU in Oxford. Game one is slated for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch on ESPNU as the SEC Thursday Night Game of the Week.
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