Rebels take series with rout of Dogs

Published 11:30 am Monday, April 14, 2014

Super Bulldog Weekend didn’t turn out so super for Mississippi State.

Ole Miss racked up 20 hits and held the Bulldogs scoreless through six innings en route to a 12-2 thrashing in their series finale Sunday in Starkville.

Austin Anderson went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and Auston Bousfield was 3-for-6 with an RBI and two runs scored for Ole Miss (29-9, 9-6 Southeastern Conference).

The Rebels won two of three in the series against their archrival, and bounced back a day after blowing a three-run lead in the 10th inning.

“We’ve had a lot of great moments this year, but (Saturday) was really hard,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “We’ve been that resilient team and we’ve been able to handle it and get back up off the mat. We did that today. I’m really proud of the way we showed up ready to play today. It’s about attitude and approach.”

Mississippi State (22-15, 7-8) coach John Cohen was less enthused about his team’s performance.

Playing in front of 10,371 fans — the third straight day attendance topped 10,000, which brought the series attendance to an NCAA-record 39,181 — the Bulldogs fizzled.

They didn’t get a runner past second base until the seventh inning, when Derrick Armstrong led off with a single and scored on Reid Humphreys’ RBI double. Jake Vickerson, who had also singled, scored on a ground out in the same inning for MSU’s other run.

Mississippi State has now lost two consecutive SEC series, and five of its last six league games.

“I’m not sure we could’ve beaten a good junior high baseball team today,” Cohen said. “We were absolutely uninspired in every phase of the game.”

While not happy with his team’s performance, Cohen was quick to take responsibility for it.

“None of this is on our players,” he said. “I feel like I made bad pitches today. I feel like I had bad defensive plays, like I had bad at-bats. It’s not our players. They’ve got to be directed better.”

Ole Miss’ Sam Smith (5-2) allowed two runs, two walks and struck out three in six innings to get the win. Although the game was a blowout, Jeremy Massie got his first save by pitching three innings of shutout ball.

State, meanwhile, didn’t get much out of its pitching staff.

Starter Ben Bracewell allowed two runs in 2 2/3 innings and was lifted for Brandon Woodruff, who fared even worse. Woodruff got out of a jam without any damage in the third inning, but gave up four runs on five hits in the fourth.

Woodruff allowed another run in the fifth inning and was responsible for two runners he left on base when he was pulled in the sixth. Those two both scored on Will Allen’s single to put Ole Miss up 10-0.

In all, Woodruff allowed seven runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings.

“We have to find a way to pitch it better,” Cohen said. “We have to have someone who can come out on a Sunday and give us a chance. Again, we will get there. We will keep working at it until we have the answers.”