MSU beats Ole Miss 11-8 to win series

Published 12:29 am Sunday, May 10, 2009

OXFORD — Mississippi State combined timely hitting and quality pitching to defeat Ole Miss 11-8 in a Southeastern Conference baseball game Saturday night at Oxford-University Stadium.

The Bulldogs led from start to finish and parlayed a strong pitching performance from Nick Routt and Chad Crosswhite into the victory. Leading 6-5 in the sixth inning, the Bulldogs pulled away with a three-run home run from Connor Powers and three innings later, a two-run shot by Ryan Duffy.

With the victory, MSU clinched the weekend series. The Bulldogs won the series opener Friday night, 6-5. MSU snaps a five-year series win streak by Ole Miss. In the process, the Bulldogs clinch victory in a weekend series in Oxford for the first time since 2003.

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MSU improved to 23-26 overall and 8-17 in league play with the win. Meanwhile, seventh-ranked Ole Miss fell to 36-15 and 16-10. Thanks to victories by South Carolina and Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs were eliminated from SEC Tournament consideration. However, the Bulldogs did move up to fifth place in the Western Division race. Also in the race, Ole Miss now trails LSU by two games, after the Tigers beat Florida yet again in Baton Rouge.

For a second straight week, the Bulldogs saw a Saturday afternoon contest delayed by rain. Five full innings were played before heavy rains and lightning caused a three-hour, 50-minute delay. Routt and the Bulldogs enjoyed a 6-5 lead when play was stalled.

MSU had built a 3-0 lead with one run in the second inning and two more scores in the third inning. In the second inning, Scott DeLoach hit a double and scored on an RBI-single by Ryan Powers. An inning later, Grant Hogue singled and scored on a Cody Freeman double. An RBI-single by Russ Sneed scored Freeman, running the lead to 3-0.

The Rebels answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Matt Smith started things with a leadoff walk. Kyle Henson slapped an RBI-double to break up the shutout. An RBI-single by Jeremy Travis capped that inning.

In the fifth inning, each team scored three runs.

For MSU, Cody Freeman drew a leadoff walk and later took third base on a Russ Sneed single. DeLoach chased UM starter Brett Bukvich with a two-run double off the right field wall. After a single by Ryan Collins, a groundball out by Brett Brownlee ran the MSU advantage to 6-2.

In the home half of the inning, Tim Ferguson and Jordan Henry started things with back-to-back hits. Both runners advanced on a double steal. A groundout scored Ferguson, while a sacrifice fly scored Henry. Henson’s seventh home run of the year closed the gap to 6-5.

The Bulldogs then put the contest away with Powers’ 17th home run and Duffy’s eighth home run of the season.

MSU starter Nick Routt (5-3) worked the first five innings to record the win. The freshman left-hander allowed eight hits and five runs (all earned) with four strikeouts and a walk.

Ironically, Routt and the Bulldogs held a 7-3 lead after five innings of play against Alabama last Saturday. That contest was suspended by rain. In Sunday’s completion, the Tide rallied off the MSU bullpen for a 17-16 victory.

Bukvich (8-2) took the loss for the Rebels. The senior left-hander worked 4-1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and six runs (all earned), with four strikeouts and a walk.

Crosswhite worked the final four innings for the Bulldogs, earning his sixth save. The senior right-hander recorded three straight scoreless innings before being touched for three scores in the UM ninth inning.

The Bulldogs finished with 16 hits. Hogue finished with three hits, while Sneed, DeLoach, Brownlee and Frank Rawdow had multiple hits.

The Rebels finished with 13 hits. Henry and Henson each had three hits, while Ferguson had multiple hits.

MSU and Ole Miss complete the series with a 1:30 p.m. start Sunday. Neither team has announced a starting pitcher.

LSU 4, Florida 0

BATON ROUGE — LSU senior right-hander Louis Coleman hurled eight scoreless innings and the third-ranked Tigers collected 11 hits to shutout No. 11 Florida 4-0 in front of a school-record crowd of 9,131 Saturday night in Alex Box Stadium.

With the victory, the Tigers (38-13, 18-8) won their third consecutive SEC series and their eighth conference series of the season. LSU has won 12 of its last 13 league series, dating back to last season.

The Gators dropped to 34-17 overall and 16-10 in conference play with Saturday’s loss.

Game 3 of the series begins at Noon on Sunday in Alex Box Stadium. LSU’s senior class will be honored prior to Sunday’s game with a ceremony scheduled to begin at 11:40 a.m.

Coleman (10-2), the reigning SEC pitcher of the week, notched his second consecutive dominant performance, allowing only four hits while walking one and striking out seven. Coleman has not allowed a run in his last 17 innings, dating back to April 25 against Auburn.

“Coleman always has so much poise and composure and competitive zeal,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “He never makes excuses when a play isn’t made behind him; he just goes out and gets the next guy. That’s what makes him a winner.”

Contributing for LSU offensively were designated hitter Blake Dean, left fielder Ryan Schimpf and catcher Micah Gibbs, who each collected two hits apiece.

Memphis 16, Southern Miss 6

MILLINGTON, Tenn. — Southern Miss dropped their second game in a row at Memphis Saturday afternoon, losing 16-6 at USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn.

Southern Miss once again could not get any help on the mound as starter Jeff Stanley only lasted two-thirds of an inning. In all Southern Miss used five pitchers that surrendered 16 runs and 16 hits on the afternoon.

The Golden Eagles only managed eight hits in the game, with no player having more that one hit. Michael Ewing had a three-run home run in his only at bat, as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning.

Memphis opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning as the second batter of the inning, Adam McClain, hit a two-run home run over the left field wall. The scoring continued as Shawn Abbott tripled off the right field wall and came in to score on a sacrifice fly, which ended the day for starting pitcher Jeff Stanley.

Stanley lasted only five hitters, allowing three runs on two hits while recording only two outs.

McClain added two more RBI in the bottom of the second inning with a bases loaded single to left field ending the day for Scott Copeland.

The Tigers added two more runs in the second inning on a single to right field by Trey Weidman off Jonathon Johnston, though the runs were charged to Copeland.

Copeland worked two-thirds of an inning, allowing four runs on two hits and walking two.

Southern Miss finally cracked the scoreboard with a run in the top of the fourth inning as James Ewing singled and Taylor Walker doubled off the right field wall. Bo Davis platted Ewing with a sacrifice fly to left field to make the score 7-1.

Memphis tacked on two more runs as Jacob Wilson hit a bases loaded single off Johnston to drive in two more Tiger Runs and make the score 9-1, ending the day for Johnston.