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Ole Miss & MSU ready for regional championships

Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.

Ole Miss and Mississippi State have advanced to their respective regional championships today with a chance to move on to a Super Regional in the NCAA Tournament.

Ole Miss:

Ole Miss baseball head coach Mike Bianco. Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.

After a 9-2 win over St. Louis on Saturday night, the Rebels were the “away” team in Sunday’s matchup with the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles and broke through with two runs in the top of the 1st to begin what would become a nail-biter later on. TT would bring 2 runs across in the 3rd inning, but the Rebels would take a 4-2 lead in the top of the 5th thanks to RBIs from Nick Fortes and Thomas Dillard. The lead wouldn’t even last for a full inning as the Golden Eagles responded with two runs of their own to tie it a 4-4. Each team plated a run in the 6th to make it 5-5.

The Golden Eagles threatened to take the lead with the bases loaded in the 6th, but Will Ethridge came in to relieve starter Brady Fiegl, and he got the Rebels out of the inning unscathed. With nothing doing in the 7th for either squad, Ole Miss then took a 6-5 lead in the 8th on a Grae Kessinger RBI double.

Rebel closer Parker Caracci came in to slam the door on TT in the bottom of the 7th after they were able to put their first two batters on base.

The Rebels scored 3 runs in the top of the 9th and looked to be in cruise control after Will Golsan drove in a run after a pair of opening walks. Golsan was the offensive MVP for the Rebels on Sunday as he went 3-5 with 3 RBIs. Anthony Servideo drew a walk which scored Cole Zabowski and because ball four was a wild pitch, Golsan was able to hustle home to give the Rebels a 9-5 lead.

In the bottom of the 9th, Carraci walked the first two batters and hit another batter to load the bases. With one out, Houston Roth came in to relieve Caracci and quickly got out number two, but the Rebels had one more storm to weather. A walk brought in one run, and a base hit up the middle brought in two more to bring the score to 9-8. With the tying run on 3rd and the potential winning run on 2nd, Roth struck out the Golden Eagles’ Alex Junior to give the Rebels a victory.

The Rebels and the Golden Eagles will play at Noon today with a trip to a Super Regional on the line. If Ole Miss wins they’ll move on, if they lose, the two teams will play again at 6 p.m.

Mississippi State:

Photo courtesy of Kelly Donoho/MSU Athletics

The Bulldogs dropped the first game of the Tallahassee regional 20-10 to Oklahoma, but they’ve been on fire ever since. On Saturday, it appeared that MSU was headed for an early exit as they trailed 2-0 in the 9th against FSU, but an Elijah MacNamee walk-off home run has reenergized this Bulldog squad.

On Sunday, the Bulldogs took the field twice and won both games to stay alive and force a winner-take-all regional championship today with Oklahoma.

Game one was a matchup with Samford, and similarly to Ole Miss’ game, it was a back-and forth-affair. They jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but Samford quickly came back to tie it up. Hunter Stovall got the lead right back for MSU with a 2-RBI single in the 7th. Samford would attempt to rally, but a few insurance runs from MSU ensured that they would be moving on.

On the mound, Jacob Billingsley got the start and went 7.0 innings and gave way to Denver McQaury and JP France out of the Bulldog pen to close things out.

In game two, MSU was able to best Oklahoma by a 13-5 final thanks in large part to an 8 run 3rd inning. Knowing OU’s firepower on offense first-hand, MSU knew they had to put runs up in this one. A Rowdey Jordan 2-run HR got things going as MSU would bat around to steal the momentum in this matchup. OU couldn’t find the offense that powered them on Friday, and they would never put a scare into MSU during Sunday night’s game.

The Bulldog arms were able to stifle the Sooner bats with a solid effort from McQuary pitching in his second straight game and reliever Cole Gordon who picked up the win.

The MSU win levels the playing field for today’s game in Tallahassee with the winner moving on to a Super Regional. After three straight wins, it’s hard to bet against an MSU team that’s playing like a team on a mission, so its time to see if they’ve got some gas left in the tank for today’s game.

First pitch is set for noon.

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