Bulldogs rally to avoid sweep

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Mississippi State did more than salvage a little pride on Sunday.
The No. 21 Bulldogs rallied from a six-run deficit to knock off rival Ole Miss, 7-6, at Swayze Field in the series finale. The win kept the Rebels from pulling off a sweep, gave MSU something to feel good about and kept the two teams locked together in the SEC standings.
MSU (37-15, 14-13 SEC) got Ole Miss ace Bobby Wahl out of the game in the sixth inning and staged a furious rally, with Adam Frazier and his four RBIs playing a big role.
On the mound, reliever Ben Bracewell (1-1) tossed five shutout innings to keep the Rebels (35-17, 14-13) at bay.
“I’m not a historian, I don’t know about the entire history of this series, but that’s got to be one of the all-time great gut-check comebacks,” MSU coach John Cohen said.
MSU scored five times in the sixth inning, chasing Wahl after he loaded the bases. After back-to-back RBI singles by Nick Ammirati and Demarcus Hender- son, Frazier ripped a two-run double.
Frazier then gave State the 7-6 lead with a two-out, two-run single off Matt Denny in the seventh. Those runs were charged to Scott Weathersby (0-2), who took the loss.
“When (Wahl) left, our kids felt like, there’s the little opening we need. And we just put an inning together right there,” Cohen said.
MSU starter Jacob Lindgren lasted only one inning, giving up three runs, all with two outs. Closer Jonathan Holder entered in the second, and he allowed three unearned runs in the third.
And Ole Miss appeared well on its way to a sweep, but its offense couldn’t keep up the pace against Bracewell, who logged a career high in innings. He retired 15 of the 16 batters he faced and allowed just one hit with three strikeouts.
“I felt like I had really good command of (the slider) today, and it kind of just got better and better as I went,” Bracewell said.
Ole Miss, which swept a doubleheader on Saturday, had five hits.
“This will go down as we blew the lead, had a six-run lead going into the sixth inning,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “But the truth of the matter is they just played better. They hit better and ultimately they pitched better.
“They hung in there, and we couldn’t stop them at the end.”
Both teams return to action on Tuesday, with Ole Miss visiting Southern Miss and MSU hosting Oral Roberts. The final weekend of SEC play starts Thursday.
brad.locke@journalinc.com