Mississippi State

Mississippi State clinches series over Ole Miss; Southern Miss routs Charlotte

 Austin Sexton, Mississippi State.
HAIL STATE Austin Sexton, Mississippi State.

STARKVILLE-- Right-hander Austin Sexton pitched a complete-game four-hitter and allowed no earned runs as No. 5 Mississippi State clinched its SEC series with No. 11 Ole Miss by taking a 6-2 victory Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.

The Bulldogs pitching staff has not allowed an earned run in its last 20 2/3 innings pitched and has not issued a walk in its last 27 23 innings of work.

A crowd of 11,515 saw the Bulldogs sew up their fourth-straight series victory, the longest streak in a single season since the 2003 squad won five series in a row. Winners of 12 of its last 16, MSU maintained first place in the Western Division standings, moving to 20-7-1 overall and 6-2 in league play. Ole Miss lost its fifth straight while falling to 20-7 and 2-6.

After junior right-hander Dakota Hudson pitched a four-hitter in a 3-1 victory for the Bulldogs Friday night, Sexton (3-1) was equally as tough. The Huntsville, Alabama, native fanned eight batters and walked none in his third complete-game victory.

"We were pleased with Austin Sexton," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "Our pitching has been great for both games in the series. Two complete games are huge. We are so proud of Austin. He challenged the strike zone. He relied on the defense. The strikeout to get out of the eighth inning was huge."

In its last 17 home games, MSU's starting pitching has gone 12-0 with a 0.49 ERA. During that stretch, State's starters have tossed nine quality starts, three complete games and have struck out 10.0 batters per nine innings.

The Bulldogs got all of the offense they would need by scoring once in the first inning and three more times in the second inning. Jake Mangum got the party started with a solo home run to right field in the first inning - his first round-tripper in the Maroon and White.

In the second inning, Ryan Gridley and Jacob Robson had back-to-back RBI-singles. Mangum drove in a run when he reached as a hit batsman.

The seventh frame saw the Bulldogs expand the lead when both Mangum and Humphreys had run-producing doubles.

Ole Miss bunched together three hits and an error to score twice in the eighth inning. Both runs were unearned. Sexton got out of that jam and then put the side down in order in the ninth inning as the cowbells roared loudly in approval.

Robson, Mangum, Gridley and Nathaniel Lowe each had two hits.

Tate Blackman had two hits for Ole Miss. Starting pitcher Chad Smith (2-3) was lifted in the second inning and took the loss.

Southern Miss 9, Charlotte 1: Nick Johnson threw a career-high eight innings and Southern Miss tied a season-high with 15 hits to defeat Charlotte at Hayes Stadium, capturing a Conference USA baseball series. The Golden Eagles (21-7 overall, 7-1 C-USA) won for the 17th time in their last 18 regular-season league games, while also capturing their sixth consecutive league series dating back to last year.

Tim Lynch and Nick Dawson led the Golden Eagle attack with three hits apiece, while both Chase Scott and Gulfport's Daniel Keating homered for the visitors.

It was Johnson, though, that limited the 49ers (12-15, 3-5) to an unearned run over eight innings of work on seven hits and two walks with a career-high six strikeouts. He notched the victory to improve to 2-0.

Southern Miss opened the game with three consecutive singles by Dylan Burdeaux, Jake Sandlin and Tim Lynch, but the Golden Eagles managed just one first-inning run as Taylor Braley grounded into a double play which plated Burdeaux.

Southern Miss then opened the contest with three more runs in the fifth, as they tallied at least one run over the final five frames to pull away in the contest.

Scott opened the fifth with a solo homer, his fourth of the season, before Sandlin plated a run on a groundout and Lynch knocked in a tally with a double.

Keating, who was pinch hitting in the sixth, extended the lead to 5-0 with a solo home run, his third of the year, to left.

Lynch drove in his second run of the game with a single in the seventh, before Dawson knocked in his lone run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth to make it 7-0.

Charlotte collected its lone run in the eighth. With one out and a runner on second, Brett Netzer flied out to left and the throw to cut down the advancing runner at third skipped away and allowed Reece Hampton to score.

The Golden Eagles then added two more runs in the ninth. Pascagoula's Tracy Hadley knocked in the first run with a single and the second one came home on a 49er error on the play.