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Mississippi State rolls past No. 1 Florida; Ole Miss holds off Arkansas

Cody Brown, Mississippi State
Cody Brown, Mississippi State

GAINESVILLE, Fla.- A Cody Brown grand slam highlighted a red-hot start that carried the No. 10 Mississippi State baseball team to a 10-4 victory over No. 1 Florida in a Southeastern Conference baseball game played Saturday night at McKethan Stadium.

MSU will now play for its fourth series victory in the rubber match of the series at 3 p.m. Sunday. With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 22-9-1 overall and 7-4 in league play, while also holding onto sole possession of first place in the Western Division. Florida fell to 29-4 and 8-3. The Gators fell out of first place in the overall standings.

"The kids came out and had some nice, short, efficient swings early in the game," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "Austin (Sexton) gave up hits because we were asking him to throw strikes with the big lead. Can't say enough about Ryan Rigby. He just kept pouring strikes into the zone. This is a great win for our club. We have a chance to win a series against the No. 1 team in the nation."

Florida also saw a 29-game home win streak snapped after the MSU offense cranked out the most runs allowed by the Gators in a game this season. Brown's grand slam was the first allowed by UF pitching since 2014. MSU beat the nation's No. 1 team for the first time since beating LSU on May 2, 2015.

After a disappointing 8-2 loss in the series opener, the Bulldogs struck immediately Saturday with four first-inning runs.

Jake Mangum, Elih Marrero and Nathaniel Lowe opened the game with consecutive singles. Gavin Collins reached as a hit batsman to force in a run. Reid Humphreys followed with a two-run double. Ryan Gridley brought home another run with a ground ball out.

In the third inning, the Bulldogs went deep to expand the lead.

Lowe started things with a double. Collins beat out a bunt for an infield hit. Humphreys walked to load the bases. Brown then homered to right center for his second grand slam. Brent Rooker followed with a one-out single and scored on a triple by Mangum.

Florida answered with a three-run home run by Buddy Reed in the third inning. From there, things were silent but the damage had been done.

Florida scored its final run in the eighth inning, but MSU countered with a Ryan Gridley sacrifice fly in the ninth inning.

Rigby (4-1) pitched the final five innings, in relief of starter Sexton, to get the win. Rigby allowed four hits and one run (earned), with four strikeouts and a walk. Sexton allowed eight hits and three runs (all earned) in four innings of work.

MSU collected 14 hits. Mangum and Lowe each had three hits, while Marrero, Collins and Humphreys each had two hits. Brown matched a career high with four RBIs.

Ole Miss 14,Arkansas 9: No. 14 Ole Miss clinched a SEC series win over Arkansas on Saturday night at Swayze field in a battle of the bats. With both teams combining for 29 hits, the Rebels (24-7, 5-6 SEC) used 16 hits to out-slug the Razorbacks (20-11, 4-7 SEC) 14-9.

The hot Rebel bats plated 14 runs, the most scored by Ole Miss Baseball in an SEC game since April 26, 2014, an 18-5 win at Kentucky. Ole Miss scored 10 runs in innings six through eight, marking the third straight game stringing together at least three scoring innings.

Freshman Ryan Olenek led the night offensively with three hits, two RBI and two runs. The right fielder also made plays with his glove, including a diving catch and throwing a runner out at home. Ole Miss recorded seven doubles throughout the night and went 7-for-18 with runners in scoring position. Tate Blackman, Will Golsan, Henri Lartigue and Errol Robinson all put together multi-hit games with Lartigue knocking in a team-high three RBI.

"I thought we had a really good approach," said head coach Mike Bianco regarding his team's success at the plate. "Coach (Mike) Clement laid out a great approach in the hitters meeting, and our guys executed. Throughout, we had some really good at-bats."

On the mound, left-handed pitcher David Parkinson earned his first career victory in his career start for the Rebels. Parkinson tossed a career-high 5.1 innings and allowed only one run on three Razorback hits.

"He was terrific," noted Bianco. "It's hard to say you can ask for much more. A guy who's been in the bullpen all year and gets his first SEC start, he pitched very well."

Ole Miss tallied six runs on eight hits off Arkansas starter Zach Jackson (2-3), who also made his first start of the season. At the plate, the Razorbacks recorded 13 hits with five batters recording two apiece.

The Rebels wasted no time taking the lead in game two against the Razorbacks. After Parkinson left Arkansas scoreless in the first frame, Olenek got things rolling with a one-out double to right field. Blackman followed with a single up the middle, putting runners on the corners. Bortles walked to load the bases, and with ducks on the pond, Lartigue ripped a two-RBI single to left field and scored Olenek and Blackman.

With a two-run lead in the bottom of the second, Ole Miss tallied two more to the scoreboard. Connor Cloyd ripped a double to right field sending Errol Robinson, who previously reached on a single, across home plate. With Cloyd on third, Olenek's ground out allowed the fourth Rebel run to score.

Parkinson kept the Razorback bats quiet until the fourth inning. Left fielder Luke Bonfield hit a solo homer as the leadoff batter in the top of the frame. The home run cut the Ole Miss lead to 4-1.

A scoreless fifth inning went by before Feigl replaced Parkinson on the mound for the Rebels. In the top of the sixth inning, with one out and a runner on third, first baseman Cullen Gassaway hit a fly ball to right field. Olenek made the catch and gunned the Arkansas runner down at home plate as Lartigue made the tag to save a run.

Ole Miss went back-to-back innings, scoring two runs in each. Fitzsimmons was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Golsan then singled to left field, putting runners on first and second. Cloyd was also hit by a pitch before Dishon, in as a pinch runner, scored on Woodman's sacrifice fly. A throwing error by the catcher attempting a pickoff at first base allowed Golsan to score from second, giving the Rebels a 6-1 edge.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, after Bortles and Lartigue were walked, Holt Perdzock cleared the bases. Perdzock sent an opposite-field double to the left-center gap, extending the Ole Miss lead to seven runs.

The Razorbacks rallied back in the top of the eighth inning. Arkansas scored four times on four hits and one error in the Ole Miss outfield. Stokes entered the game with two runners on and two outs and forced junior Austin Catron into a ground out to end the rally.

Ole Miss answered with six runs in the bottom of the eighth. Kyle Watson got things rolling with a double to left field. Olenek earned his third hit of the night when he singled up the middle to score Watson. A single by Blackman put runners on first and second before Bortles cleared the bases, bringing the score to 11-5. Lartigue singled up the middle to score Bortles, and Golsan followed with an RBI single of his own. Robinson's single of the middle was the seventh of the inning, capping off the six-run frame and increasing the Ole Miss advantage to 14-5.

Arkansas continued to fight, posting three runs in the top of the ninth before Dallas Woolfolk took over the mound for the Rebels. One inherited runner scored with Woolfolk on the mound, but the Rebels got out of the inning with a 4-6-3 double play to bring the final score to 14-9.

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