College Baseball

OXFORD – Scott Bittle continued to perform masterfully on the mound while the Rebel offense out-hit the Bulldogs to a tune of 10-5 as No. 11 Ole Miss (32-12, 13-8 SEC) defeated No. 1 Georgia (33-11, 14-7 SEC) by a score of 6-1 to claim the weekend series.

Sunday’s crowd reached 8,219 fans to push the three-day total to 26,929 fans in attendance for the weekend series. It’s the largest three-game series attendance for the Rebels in school history.

Bittle (5-2) picked up the win as he worked 7.0 innings and held the Bulldogs to one run on five hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts. The senior did not allow a hit from Georgia after the first batter of the third inning as the pitching staff combined to hold the Bulldogs hitless from that point on. Only one Georgia batter reached base in the final 7.0 innings.

Georgia starter Justin Grimm (2-3) suffered the loss as he allowed five runs – four earned – on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 5.0 innings of work.

“It was a great baseball game today that topped off a great weekend,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “That was a tremendous effort by Scott Bittle – to do what he did with the three hits in the first before hanging in there and really holding them off. I thought Justin Grimm did a great job, but we were able to squeak out a few runs against him.

“The crowd really took over when we loaded the bases (in the sixth). It’s not often you see that in a college baseball game, but I think that certainly happened today.”

Georgia got on the board in the first inning for the third time on the weekend with a single run to open the game. Colby May came up with a single before moving to second on a single from Rich Poythress and then scoring on a single from Joey Lewis.

Ole Miss answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead. Jordan Henry singled before stealing second and then moved to third on a sac bunt from Logan Power. He then scored on a single from Matt Snyder. Snyder then scored two batters later on a fielding error in right field on a high fly ball from Kyle Henson that was dropped, allowing the freshman to score from first and give the Rebels the 2-1 lead.

Ole Miss never trailed again.

The Rebels got a surprising run in the fourth inning when Michael Hubbard hit an inside-the-park home run to push the lead out to 3-1. Hubbard hit the ball deep to left center where it bounced off the wall. Hubbard then beat the relay in for the score.

Ole Miss added three runs in the sixth for the final margin of victory at 6-1. Henson opened the inning with a single before taking second on a wild pitch. Zach Miller then drew a walk before a passed ball advanced both runners to scoring position. Georgia then went to its bullpen for Justin Earls, who walked pinch-hitter Taylor Hashman to load the bases with no outs.

Georgia again went to its bullpen for Jeff Walters who struck out Kevin Mort, but saw Evan Button lay down a bunt single that scored Henson and gave Ole Miss the 4-1 lead as all runners advanced safely, keeping the bases loaded. Henry then came up with a two-RBI single up the middle to score Miller and Hashman and give the Rebels the 6-1 lead.

Bittle then held the Bulldogs off the board in the seventh, while David Goforth and Jake Morgan closed out the eighth and ninth, respectively, to secure the win.

Ole Miss will return to action on Tuesday night when the Rebels will face Southern Miss at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.

Dogs fall in series finale at Vandy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A five-run second inning proved decisive as the Vanderbilt Commodores beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs 11-3 in a Southeastern Conference baseball game Sunday afternoon at VU’s Hawkins Field.

The Commodores complete the weekend series sweep. With the victories, VU improved to 27-17 overall and 10-10 in league play. Meanwhile, MSU dropped to 21-24 and 6-15.

Vanderbilt entered the weekend series with a league-lowest 26 home runs on the season. The Commodores hit nine home runs in the series, including four critical long balls in Sunday’s victory.

For only the second time in the l2 games, MSU scored in the first inning. In that inning, Ryan Collins had a one-out single and Cody Freeman drew a walk. Ryan Duffy followed with an RBI-single.

In the bottom of the inning, the Commodores tied the contest when Curt Casili hit his eighth home run of the season.

The second inning may have told the tale in Sunday’s game. The Bulldogs loaded the bases with no outs and did not score. The Commodores loaded the bases with no outs and eventually scored five times.

Aaron Westlake singled and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Jason Esposito in the VU second inning. On the sac fly, the Bulldogs tried to r etire the back runner but threw the ball away, allowing another run to score.

Also in the inning, Brian Harris hit his sixth home run of the season – a two-run shot. Steven Liddle followed with a double and Casali an RBI-single for the Commodores.

VU stretched the lead to 7-1 with a single score in the fourth inning. The Bulldogs answered that run with Ryan Duffy’s second home run of the weekend in the fifth inning.

In the seventh inning, MSU again loaded the bases with no outs. Two strikeouts and a flyout worked the Commodores out of that threat.

MSU’s final threat was in the eighth inning. Luke Adkins tripled to lead off the inning. Grant Hogue ran his hit streak to eight games
with a two-out RBI-single, plating Adkins. Also in the inning, Hogue stole his 28th base, moving him into second place on MSU’s all-time single-season list.

The Commodores closed the scoring with four runs in the eighth inning. Esposito and Liddle each hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning.

MSU finished with 10 hits. Ryan Collins, Duffy and Adkins each had multiple hits.

VU finished with 14 hits. Harris had four hits, while Casali and Liddle each had three hits.

MSU starter Tyler Whitney (2-4) was lifted after 1-2/3 innings and took the loss. Whitney allowed eight hits and six runs (all earned),=2 0with one walk and no strikeouts. Paxton Pace worked 1-1/3 innings, leaving with two runners on and no outs in the fourth inning. Jared Weson worked a career-best 4-2/3 innings, allowing six hits and only the two eighth-inning home runs. Devin Jones got the final out.

For VU, Nick Christiani (4-3) earned the win, in relief of starter Caleb Cotham. Christiani worked 3-1/3 innings, allowing three hits and one run (earned), with one strikeout and no walks. Sonny Gray earned his fifth save.

MSU plays no midweek games this week due to final examinations. The Bulldogs return to action Friday night when they open a three-game conference series with Western Division rival Alabama at Dudy Noble Field. MSU and UA are scheduled to play at 6:30 p.m. Friday, 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

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