OXFORD, Miss. – Mississippi State’s bullpen turned in a sensational performance as the Bulldogs knocked off No. 19 Ole Miss 5-3 to clinch its weekend Southeastern Conference baseball series Friday night at Swayze Field.
MSU took a series on its arch rival’s home field for the first time since 2011. The Bulldogs will carry a six-game win streak into a six-game homestand at Dudy Noble Field. MSU is now 18-10 overall and 5-3 in league play, while Ole Miss fell to 16-11 and 3-5.
The Bulldogs have won five straight conference games after finishing last season with 10 straight conference wins. MSU now has back-to-back series wins against Ole Miss for the first time since the 2011 and 2012 campaigns.
“The bullpen was phenomenal tonight, starting from the first inning,” head coach Andy Cannizaro said. “It was a Bulldog mentality from the bullpen. We picked up some timely hits, defended it well and won the series. Pitcher after pitcher threw great tonight.
“In the third game, we have to have tunnel vision. Ole Miss will come out and play their best so we have to be ready to compete on a high level.”
MSU collected 12 hits and stranded seven base runners. The Bulldogs have 10 or more hits in four of their eight league games.
Brent Rooker, Cody Brown, Tanner Poole and Josh Lovelady each had two hits. Rooker hit his ninth home run of the season, while Brown hit his third.
Despite the big offensive numbers, the story of the game was on the pitcher’s mound.
Starting pitcher Peyton Plumlee was lifted after facing four batters with his only out being from a pickoff. Jacob Barton (2-0) followed and threw 3.2 innings, allowing five hits and two runs (both earned), with three strikeouts and a walk.
Denver McQuary followed with three innings of three-hit baseball. He allowed one run and struck out a pair. Cole Gordon struck out a pair in a perfect eighth inning, while Spencer Price worked around a one-out double for his eighth save in the ninth inning.