FINAL: Ole Miss 12, MSU 3

The buzz: Ole Miss took some frustrations out on MSU, and early on, scoring six runs in the first inning and making it a very short night for Chris Stratton. The Rebels (28-23, 12-15 SEC) avoided being swept by State for the first time since 2003 and halted the Bulldogs’ eight-game winning streak. Nevertheless, MSU (32-19, 13-14) goes home having won the series and is in great shape in the standings. More on that in a minute.

Big inning: Ole Miss quickly loaded the bases with one out, then Matt Tracy had a two-run single. Will Allen then had a run-scoring single, and another run came in on first baseman Ryan Collins‘ error. Blake Newalu knocked in two with a single, and Stratton was finally pulled after facing 10 batters.

Key stats: Ole Miss out-hit MSU 15-6. Ole Miss was 4 of 9 with runners in scoring position. Ole Miss committed only one error with a reshuffled infield.

MSU at the plate: C.T. Bradford and Jonathan Ogden had two hits apiece. Ogden blasted his team-leading eighth home run, a leadoff solo shot in the fifth, and he also doubled.

Ole Miss at the plate: Alex Yarbrough was 4 of 5 with four runs scored, while Matt Snyder was 3 of 4 with a two-run homer and three RBIs. Tracy had three RBIs, while Allen finished off a strong weekend with two hits and two RBIs.

MSU on the mound: Stratton got just the two outs (both strikeouts) and was charged with six runs (three earned) on five hits, with two walks. Chad Girodo and Bradford threw 3 1/3 innings apiece, with Bradford getting tagged for five runs on seven hits. Taylor Stark logged 2/3 of an inning.

Ole Miss on the mound: Starter Austin Wright was superb, allowing two runs (both earned) on four hits in 6 1/3 innings. Wright struck out a career-high 10 and walked two. Eric Callender and Bobby Wahl came on in relief.

Bottom line: So here’s how the SEC West looks after today’s action: Arkansas 13-13, Auburn 13-13, MSU 13-14, Alabama 12-14, Ole Miss 12-15, LSU 10-16. If Alabama can beat Auburn and South Carolina can beat Arkansas tomorrow, then there will be a four-way tie for first in the West.

Quotable: “Even looking at the velocities, I didn’t think that Chris had his best stuff. Obviously down the road we’re going to need a better version, and I think we’ll get that out of Chris for sure.” – MSU coach John Cohen

Up next: MSU visits Memphis on Tuesday (at AutoZone Park), then will get ready for a home series against LSU to close out the regular season. The series begins Thursday.