Ole Miss Evens Series With 6-2 Saturday Triumph Over MSU

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Mitch Slauter's 2-run homer early on highlighted MSU's day at the plate.
Photo Courtesy of Bill Simmonds

STARKVILLE, Miss. - A difficult afternoon at the plate and in the field led the Mississippi State baseball team to drop a 6-2 decision to No. 22 Ole Miss in the middle game of a weekend Southeastern Conference series.

The Bulldogs could not build on the momentum of a 4-0 win in the series opener. Instead, the Maroon and White will face the rubber game of a series for the fourth time in seven league series. With a win Sunday, MSU would clinch its third straight home conference series.

"They stuck with the same approach and we didn't come out with the execution we needed to," MSU catcher Mitch Slauter said. "We're going to have to come out and play hard in game three. That's when state championships are won on Sundays."

MSU fell to 26-17 overall and 9-11 in league play, while Ole Miss improved to 28-15 and 10-10. The Bulldogs are bidding for their third series win in the last four seasons against the Rebels. The loss snapped a five-game MSU win streak.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs were done in in part to three errors, which led to three unearned runs. MSU made no errors in the Friday night win.

"There's about five plays that we did not make and you're not going to win any day in our league when you make the four or five blunders that we made," MSU head coach John Cohen said.

MSU starter Kendall Graveman (3-3) notched another quality start. Graveman allowed six hits and four runs (three earned) in 6.1 innings of work. Graveman allowed six hits and struck out four. Ross Mitchell, Nick Routt and Jonathan Holder followed in relief, with Routt being touched for two unearned runs.

"I really felt like Kendall threw better than he got," Cohen said. "He made the one poor pitch there, a changeup, to (Matt) Snyder that left the ballpark. He didn't have as much power sink as he usually has. Those number of fly ball outs is not who Kendall is."

Snyder hit a two-run home run in the first inning to place the Rebels on top 2-0. The Bulldogs answered when Slauter slapped a two-run home run to left center in the sixth inning.

Ole Miss took the lead for good when some defensive problems led to two runs. The Rebels stretched the lead in ninth inning with two unearned scores, including a run trotting home on a wild pitched third strike.

Ole Miss finished with 10 hits, including multi-hits by Will Allen.

MSU finished with five hits, including no multiple hitters.

R.J Hively (4-3) earned the win with four innings of relief work, following starter Mike Mayers.

The series finale is at 1:35 p.m. Sunday and will be televised by Comcast Sports Southeast.



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