PEARL, Miss. - Freshman right-hander Hawtin Buchanan led the Rebel bullpen in holding the Bulldogs scoreless over the final 5.1 innings of play as No. 22 Ole Miss (25-12) defeated Mississippi State (21-16) by a score of 6-3 in the annual Governor's Cup game played at Trustmark Park.
Matt Snyder went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored to pace the Ole Miss offense, while Buchanan was the first man out of the bullpen to hold the Bulldogs down after a two-run rally in the fourth had cut into the lead.
Buchanan (1-0) picked up the relief win, and was named the MVP of the game, after taking the mound with two outs in the fourth and a man on base. He struck out the first batter faced on his way to 2.2 hitless innings of baseball with five strikeouts and retired all eight batters faced. Dylan Chavez picked up his first save of the season, working the final 1.2 innings with a walk and four strikeouts.
Ole Miss struck out a season-high 16 batters on the night on the way to the win as four pitchers combined in the outing.
Brandon Woodruff (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing five runs on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work.
"We played well today and it was big to be able to get off to a good start," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "We really pitched well tonight. Hawtin (Buchanan) was electric. He threw the ball in the zone and we got some big strikeouts when we needed them. It was great to see that kind of performance tonight."
Ole Miss got on the board in the first inning when Matt Snyder came up with an RBI single to right field to score Tanner Mathis from third. Mathis singled to left to open the game before taking second on a sac bunt and third on a groundout to second to set up the score on the Snyder hit. Ole Miss led 1-0 after the first inning of play following a ground ball to short in the next at bat.
Mississippi State answered with a rally of its own in the third inning, loading the bases with two outs before a wild pitch brought a run home to tie the game. With two men on and two outs, a walk loaded the bases before the errant pitch brought the lead runner home to tie the game at one before Ole Miss would get out of the inning.
The Rebels broke things open in the fourth inning, pushing four runs home to take a 5-1 lead after three and a half innings of play.
It started with back-to-back singles with one out from Matt Snyder and Will Allen before a wild pitch moved both men into scoring position. Following a strikeout for the second out, the Rebels put together a rally that was sparked by an infield single down the third base line from Bousfield that scored Snyder to put Ole Miss back on top 2-1.
Allen scored on the next at bat when Zach Kirksey singled through the right side and Bousfield moved from first to third. The speedy centerfielder scored on a throwing error from the Mississippi State catcher on a pickoff attempt that sailed into left field as Kirksey stole second. A single to center from Mistone brought Kirksey home and gave the Rebels the 5-1 lead before the Bulldogs would end the inning.
Mississippi State answered in the bottom of the inning with two runs of its own. A walk, a single and a wild pitch put two men in scoring position with one out before a sac fly to right field would bring the first run home and put a man on third. A ground ball to short looked to have ended the inning, but the batter was ruled safe at first on a bang-bang play and a second run scored to make it 5-3 in favor of the Rebels. Ole Miss then turned to the bullpen for freshman Hawtin Buchanan with one man on and two outs in the inning.
Buchanan struck out the next batter to end the inning with the Rebels holding to a two-run lead.
The Rebels added to the lead in the eighth with a single run to take the advantage back out to three runs. Yarbrough opened the inning with a double to left before scoring on a single to right field from Snyder that put the score at 6-3 in favor of Ole Miss.
The Rebels shut things down the rest of the way with Buchanan and Chavez holding Mississippi State off the board in the eighth and ninth to preserve the 6-3 win.
Ole Miss returns to action this weekend, hosting No. 15 Arkansas in a three-game series at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field as a part of the Grove Bowl Weekend. Friday's series opener is set for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch.
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