Mississippi State first baseman Wes Rea, left, toes the bag, while Ole Miss baserunner Will Allen charges down the line on Saturday. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
Mitch Slauter smashed a line drive over the wall in left for a two-run home run in the sixth inning, but that wouldnâ€™t be enough for Mississippi Stateâ€™s winning streak to continue as they dropped a 6-2 decision on Saturday.
Kendall Graveman (3-3) gave the Bulldogs (26-17, 9-11) five solid innings of work sandwiched between two innings heâ€™d rather forget.
The Rebels (28-15, 10-10) jumped on Graveman early with a two-run home run off the bat of Matt Snyder to take the early 2-0 lead.
â€śThe great thing about Kendall and our pitching staff, even though we didnâ€™t defend it as well as we should have, he just kept on coming back and making great pitches,â€ť said MSU head baseball coach John Cohen.
The game cruised along for the next four innings with neither team threatening. However, in the sixth, Slauter drew the Bulldogs even after Adam Frazier opened the inning with a leadoff walk. His home run was the third of the season for the Bulldog catcher.
â€śIt happens,â€ť said Slauter who went 1-for-4 with two RBI for the afternoon. â€śIâ€™m not the first and I wonâ€™t be the last to hit one out of here.â€ť
The tie game was short lived for the Bulldogs as the Rebels quickly answered with a pair of runs in the top of seventh courtesy of MSU miscues.
Will Allen opened the inning with a double followed by a one-out throwing error by State third baseman Daryl Norris that allowed Auston Bousfield to reach base. The next batter to the plate, Austin Anderson, belted a baseball into right scoring a run. An addition run crossed the plate when Norris misplayed a ball thrown in from right field giving Ole Miss the 4-2 advantage.
â€śThere were about five plays that we did not make and youâ€™re not going to win any games in our league when you make the five blunders that we made (Saturday),â€ť Cohen said. â€śWe gave them a lot of runs (Saturday) and you just canâ€™t do that defensively in this league.â€ť
To add injury to insult, the Rebels scored a pair in the ninth and C.T. Bradford re-aggravated his separated shoulder when he collided with Brent Brownlee on a hustle play in right-center field that sent both players to the turf in pain.
â€śI remember one time playing for coach (Ron) Polk, (and) he said it perfectly,â€ť said Cohen. â€śIf everybody is running full speed for a ball, there is an occasion thatâ€™s unavoidable because you canâ€™t call for a ball unless you know you can make the play.â€ť
The severity of Bradfordâ€™s injury isnâ€™t clear at this time, but Cohen remains hopeful the news will be better than things appeared on the field.
State managed just a pair of runs on five hits off the Rebel duo of Mike Mayers (4-3) and R.J. Hively, while Ole Miss touched Bulldog pitching for six runs (three earned) on 10 hits.
The loss force the ever important rubber game on Sunday with a first pitch slated for 1:35 p.m. and will be televised on CSS.
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