Mississippi State Baseball has Series Winning Streak Over Rebels Snapped

For the first time since 2015, Mississippi State baseball suffered a series loss at the hands of their rivals.
Mississippi State catcher Johnny Long (18) scores behind Ole Miss catcher Trenton Lyons (24) in the
Mississippi State catcher Johnny Long (18) scores behind Ole Miss catcher Trenton Lyons (24) in the / Bruce Newman/Special to the Clarion

All good things must come to an end. After winning seven-straight series over their biggest rivals over the span of eight years, Mississippi State baseball suffered its first series loss to Ole Miss since 2015, losing two out of three in Oxford.

The Diamond Dawgs won Friday's matchup in dominant fashion to take a 1-0 series lead. They seemed destined to clench the series for the eighth-straight time on Saturday, holding a 4-run lead going into the bottom of the eighth. But the Rebels rallied back and eventually walked off State in extra innings.

In Sunday's rubber match, Ole Miss boat-raced the Bulldogs with a 7-inning, run-rule victory to take the series. Mississippi State dropped to 22-14 on the season and 7-8 in the SEC.

Khal Stephen pitches masterful series opener

The lone highlight for MSU over the weekend, Bulldog pitcher Khal Stephen threw an outstanding game Friday night. Through eight innings of work, the right-hander struck-out nine and allowed no runs and no walks, surrendering just three hits.

The MSU lineup was held in check much of the night, but a seven-run sixth inning blew things open. Dakota Jordan knocked a two-run shot to center to open scoring in the inning. The Bulldogs would continue to pour it on, posting the winning score of 8-0.

Bulldogs squander plenty of chances at taking series on Saturday

When it was all said and done, State lost the series on Saturday. After trailing 3-0 early, the Bulldogs rallied back to take the lead, leading 7-3 going into the bottom of the eighth. Relief pitcher Cam Schuelke struggled badly in the frame, the the Rebels managed to tie the game.

The rivals would go to extras. In both the 11th and 12th innings, MSU hit go-ahead solo home runs by Hunter Hines and Johnny Long, respectively. But in both cases, the Rebels would respond, and in the 12th, they would ultimately walk it off to win 10-9.

In each of the fifth, seventh, and eighth innings, MSU had prime opportunities to blow the game open with runners on base and either no or one outs. They scored in those situations, but they easily should've plated more. They kept the Rebels in the game with 11 runners left on base (and an ungodly 16 strikeouts). Ole Miss made them pay.

On the other side, bullpen management was questionable with struggling relievers being left in far too long. This should've been an easy win for State and another series-clencher over the Rebels. They let it get away.

Poor Sunday showing for Mississippi State baseball

Despite a gut-punching Saturday loss, MSU still had the chance to take the series on Sunday. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs played one of their worst games of the year to give Ole Miss their first win in the series since 2015.

Nothing went right for State. Starting pitcher Evan Siary struggled out the game, and his relievers weren't much better. MSU's bats went cold against Ole Miss' Mason Nichols in just his second start, failing to get much of anything going the entirety of the game.

A 3-run home run in the bottom of the seventh by the Rebels' Will Furniss put Ole Miss up 14-2, ending the game with a run-rule. This was a disappointing and frustrating series finale for Mississippi State after it seemed they'd finally hit their stride. They'll attempt to get back on track next weekend when Auburn comes to town for Super Bulldog Weekend.