OXFORD, Miss. - Twentieth-ranked Ole Miss (35-16, 14-12 SEC) picked up a pair of wins in drastically different styles on Saturday afternoon, taking both games of a twin bill from No. 13 Mississippi State (36-15, 13-13 SEC) to clinch the weekend series at Swayze Field.
The Rebels picked up a 3-0 victory over the Bulldogs in game one - a resumption of the series opener that was suspended after the top of the first on Friday night due to inclement weather, before winning a high-scoring battled 10-8 in game two of the doubleheader.
The game one victory marked the first time this season that Mississippi State had been shutout in a contest, while the second game of the series marked the first time the Bulldogs had surrendered double-digit runs to an opponent this season.
"It was just a really good day at the ball park for us," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "We had two totally different baseball games from different sides of the spectrum. The first game was a pitching and defensive battle; Scratch it out the second game. It was just a slug fest. I'm proud of the way we hung in there all day long. We made a few more pitches than they did."
"It wasn't easy," Bianco said. "They're tough. They're good. They battle. We knew that going in. I'm proud of the way the guys hung in there all day. Bobby (Wahl) will start tomorrow. We decided that last night, but didn't want to announce it and get ahead of ourselves. We still have to beat a very good team. It's great to have your ace out there. There's not a better guy that we would want to run out there on any of the days, but they're obviously a very good (Mississippi) State team."
Junior right-hander Mike Mayers (4-4) picked up the relief win in the first game, working 7.0 scoreless innings, allowing two hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts. He relieved starter Bobby Wahl, who pitched the top of the first on Friday night with three strikeouts before rain forced the suspension of the game.
Brett Huber picked up his 11th save of the season to extend his career total to 37 saves on Senior Day at Swayze Field.
The Rebels got the first run of the game on a solo home run to left field from Will Allen in the fifth inning before a bases-loaded walk from Sikes Orvis would push the lead out to 2-0. Ole Miss capped the scoring with a bases-loaded sac fly from pinch hitter Austin Knight in the eighth inning for the final margin of victory.
Luis Pollorena (6-3) took the loss for the Bulldogs in game one of the series, allowing two runs on five hits with three strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work.
Game two opened up with a different pace entirely right out of the gates.
Mississippi State pushed a pair of runs home in the first, loading the bases before a misplayed ball at third on a grounder from Wes Rea brought the first run home and a single from Sam Frost brought a second run home before the Rebels would get out of the inning down 2-0.
Ole Miss responded in the bottom of the first, pushing four runs home and never trailed again in the contest. The Rebels loaded the bases with one out before Auston Bousfield hammered a three-RBI triple to right center to put Ole Miss on top. Bousfield then scored on a sac fly from Holt Perdzock to give the home team the 4-2 lead.
Sophomore right-hander Sam Smith (3-0) picked up the win in the start, tying a season-long outing with 6.0 innings of work, allowing the three runs on eight hits with two strikeouts. Senior Tanner Bailey picked up his third save of the season, closing out the final 2.2 innings after entering the game with Ole Miss holding to an 8-5 lead and the tying run on deck in the seventh.
Kendall Graveman (5-5) took the loss for Mississippi State, allowing six runs on seven hits with three walks and a strikeout in 4.1 innings of work.
After grabbing the 4-2 lead in the first, the Rebels would see the lead cut to one run in the third on an RBI single from Rea with that brought home Hunter Renfroe.
Ole Miss would respond, plating two runs in the fifth on a two-RBI double from Bousfield and a pair of runs in the sixth on two Bulldog errors and an RBI single from Austin Anderson to take the lead out to 8-3 after six innings of play.
Mississippi State again answered with a two-run seventh inning, only to see the Rebels take the score back out to 10-5 with a two-RBI single up the middle with the bases loaded from senior Tanner Mathis in the bottom of the inning.
The Bulldogs would continue to chip away at the lead, pushing two runs home in the eighth and a single run home in the ninth before Bailey would close the door and pick up the win to give the Rebels the weekend series.
Ole Miss and Mississippi State will conclude the series with a single game at 1 p.m. on Sunday televised by CSS.
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