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MSU upsets #3 Ole Miss with walk-off win

Dudy Noble Field. Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.

Mississippi State was able to hand Ole Miss their first series loss of the season thanks to an extra-inning thriller.

The #3 Rebels were able to take a 6-5 lead in the top of the 9th on Sunday, but Jake Mangum picked up one of his 5 hits in the bottom of the frame to drive in a run and tie the game at 6-6.

In the bottom of the 11th, Luke Alexander stepped to the plate for State and a 2-run blast ended the game in walk-off fashion. Despite being .500 at the beginning of the series, records are the last thing on the minds of two rivals and Mississippi State was able to pull off the upset. After the win, MSU interim coach Gary Henderson said that his team continued to fight, and it paid off.

“It was a great series win for us,” Henderson said. “The kids kept battling. Finding a way to tie the game in the ninth inning was huge for this team. There was a lot of good defense, too. We had some great fan support this weekend. I am happy that it worked out and we were able to get this victory.”

Because of rain on Friday, the two teams played a doubleheader on Saturday. The first game of the series was a 13-3 blowout win for MSU, thanks to an 8-run 3rd inning. The Bulldog bats cooled off in game 2, and the Rebels picked up their only win of the series with a 6-1 win.

Henderson referenced good defense as a part of MSU’s winning ways this weekend, and it was just the opposite for Ole Miss. The Rebels committed 7 errors over the weekend with 3 in each game of Saturday’s doubleheader, compared to just one for the Bulldogs.

A win like this could be just what MSU needed, so look for them to ride this wave of momentum moving forward. A renewed sense of confidence after the halfway point of the season seems to have arrived for MSU. They’ll put that to the test as they begin a road trip. They’ll take on Alabama State on Wednesday ahead of a 3-game series with Auburn next weekend.

For Ole Miss, this is their first chance of the season to show how they’ll respond to adversity. The Rebels are now 27-6, so they’re still going to be highly ranked, but after being upset by a rival, they’ll have to regroup ahead of a mid-week matchup with another rival. Ole Miss and Southern Miss will meet in Pearl on Tuesday at Trustmark Park.

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