Mississippi State enters the final week of the SEC regular season on a roll — thanks to a three-game sweep of archrival Ole Miss in Oxford.
The Bulldogs (42-10, 18-9 SEC) became the first team to sweep the Rebels (32-20, 15-12 SEC) at home since MSU did so in 2017.
It’s the first time Ole Miss has been swept this season, leaving the Rebels trying to regroup before Thursday’s regular-season series finale at Tennessee.
Ole Miss gave up nine runs in a fourth-inning blowup on Sunday, losing 11-5 to the Bulldogs.
“It’s a really bad weekend for us. It’s just a shame,” said head coach Mike Bianco. “So much riding on the weekend and you’re playing your archrival and you just play awful.”
The Bulldogs are 14-2 against the Rebels over the last three seasons.
“We came in here with one goal in mind, win the first one,” MSU catcher Dustin Skelton said. “If we could win the first one we could win the second one. If we could win the second one we’d win the third one.”
Both teams began the series with NCAA tournament goals in mind, the Bulldogs with an eye on a national seed, the Rebels hoping to strengthen their argument to host a regional for what would be the third time in four years.
Roughed up recently, the Ole Miss bullpen has allowed 22 earned runs in 132/3 innings in a win over LSU and two losses to MSU. The outlier is three scoreless innings by Houston Roth in Friday’s 2-0 loss to the Bulldogs.
MSU totaled 17 hits for the game, three each by Tanner Allen and Skelton.
While Ole Miss relief pitching struggled, MSU got a season-long outing from right-hander Peyton Plumlee, who scattered seven hits in 72/3 innings. He had retired 12 of 13 when Cooper Johnson posted a two-out single in the eighth. It was the first hit allowed by Plumlee since Kevin Graham’s single through the right side to lead off the fourth.
The Bulldogs didn’t mash Ole Miss starter Gunnar Hoglund. His exit after 32/3 innings was more like death by paper cut. He gave up eight hits, seven of them singles, but it was 2-2 when he left the game.
Johnson, Ole Miss’ catcher, said the Rebels didn’t make enough pitches.
“That’s kind of been our Kryptonite this weekend,” he said. “There are moments where you have to make pitches, and if you don’t make pitches, you will lose the game.”
When the dust finally settled, the Bulldogs had sent 10 men to the plate with two outs.
They had nine runs on seven hits all with two outs.
Ole Miss junior Thomas Dillard, a Greenwood native, had one hit in each game over the weekend, finishing 3-for-11 at the plate. He is now batting .297 with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs.