College Baseball April 8, 2012

By School Reports

Walkoff double lifts MSU to series win over Vanderbilt

MSU Media Relations
STARKVILLE, Miss. – On Easter weekend at Mississippi State University, designated hitter Daryl Norris was hiding hits all over Dudy Noble Field.

Norris’ two-out double in the home half of the ninth inning lifted the Bulldogs to a thrilling 8-7 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores in the final game of a three-game Southeastern Conference baseball series.

With the Sunday afternoon victory, MSU captured its first conference series of the year and also took its first series from Vanderbilt since 2005. The Bulldogs improved to 20-12 overall and 5-7 in league play, while the Commodores fell to 13-19 and 4-8.

“I was sitting on a fastball and just waiting on it,” Norris said. “The fact that (Vanderbilt pitcher Kevin Ziomek) also pitched Friday night really helped me there. It made me more prepared for what he was going to throw. I am still a little slow in the field (due to injury), but at the plate, I am fine.

“We needed that win really bad. It was a team effort. We had a lot of guys picking each other up. Down four runs, we didn’t lose confidence. We knew we had a lot of baseball left, it was a matter of staying there and continuing to battle. This was a very big series win.”

For the contest, Norris had three hits and three RBIs. For the series, Norris had six hits in 10 at-bats, with one double and four RBIs. After being sidelined with injury the past month, Norris provided the Bulldogs a huge spark while upping his batting average to a team-best .409.

“The story for the game is we go down four and the kids keep battling,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “We stayed positive and kept believing that we were going to find a way to get this done. A lot of people helped on the mound. You can’t say enough about Daryl Norris.

“He was at second base when we scored him earlier in the game. You are just locked in on that knee and you are thinking ‘Can he do this’? The things these players are doing are amazing. You could not be more proud of a group of guys who are playing hurt.”

MSU hosts South Alabama at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Bulldogs then hit the road for more SEC play next weekend with a series at South Carolina.

Rebels drop series to No. 1 Kentucky

Ole Miss Media Relations
LEXINGTON, Ky. – For the second game on the weekend, it was the team that got the big hit and not the most hits that won the contest as No. 10 Ole Miss (21-10, 6-6 SEC) fell to No. 1 Kentucky (30-3, 9-3 SEC) by a score of 8-3 on Sunday.

The Rebels out-hit the Wildcats 11-to-8 in the game, but left eight men stranded on the afternoon while Kentucky got the big hit in the sixth to take the lead for good on a grand slam from Cameron Flynn. Ole Miss led 2-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth.

R.J. Hively (3-2) suffered the loss for Ole Miss, allowing six runs on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in 5.0 innings of work.

Corey Littrell (5-0) picked up the win, holding the Rebels to two runs on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work. Alex Phillips picked up his second save of the season, working the final 3.0 innings for the Wildcats and taking the mound with Ole Miss on top 2-1 to start the sixth inning.

“Today was similar to Friday in that we were unable to get the big hit,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Kentucky did that this weekend, that’s why they’re so good.

“Kentucky pitched well all weekend with the exception of the fifth inning on Friday,” Bianco continued. “We did as well, except for in the sixth inning today. There were just two really good teams going at it this weekend.”

Ole Miss will return to action on Tuesday, hosting Central Arkansas in a doubleheader that will begin at 3 p.m. at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.