College baseball roundup: Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss are all Saturday winners

Published 9:30 pm Saturday, March 23, 2019

STARKVILLE — Mississippi State rode its best hitting day of the season to a conference victory on Saturday.

Jordan Westburg went 3-for-4 with a double, home run and five RBIs, and Jake Mangum had four hits as the Bulldogs crushed Auburn 15-2 at Dudy Noble Field.

Mississippi State (21-3, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) had a season-high 20 hits — six of them for extra bases — and evened the weekend series at one game apiece. The finale is Sunday at 1 p.m.

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Auburn won 6-5 in the series opener on Friday.

Westburg, Rowdey Jordan and junior Gunner Halter each had three hits on Saturday. Rowdey Jordan and Landon Jordan had two RBIs each.

Westburg drove in Mississippi State’s first run with a double in the bottom of the first, igniting a five-run rally that gave the Bulldogs the lead for good.

Westburg also hit a two-run single in the fifth inning, a sacrifice fly in the seventh, and a solo home run in the eighth.

Mississippi State scored seven times in the eighth inning to put the cap on a dominant victory.

“Early on, it played out a lot like last night. In the first couple of innings we left some guys on,” Mississippi State coach Chad Lemonis said. “(Our guys) were very focused and ready to play like always. They usually come ready to go. We were very offensive today. In the second and third we left a couple of guys on, but we were still having great at-bats.”

While Auburn starting pitcher Carson Skipper (3-1) did not make it out of the first inning, Mississippi State’s J.T. Ginn turned in a dominant performance.

The freshman from Brandon allowed three hits, one walk and two runs in seven innings. He struck out six and improved his record to 6-0.

Ole Miss 3, Missouri 0
Doug Nikhazy helped Ole Miss (17-2, 3-2 SEC) bounce back nicely from a series-opening loss to Missouri (14-9, 1-4).

Nikhazy took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and allowed only two hits and two walks in 7 2/3 innings as the Rebels beat Missouri to even their series at a game apiece.

It was the first weekend and SEC start for the freshman Nikhazy (2-2). Parker Caracci struck out three of the four batters he faced to cap earn his fourth save of the season.

Ryan Olenek hit an RBI double in the third inning, and the Rebels tacked on two unearned runs in the fourth for some breathing room.

Missouri starter T.J. Sikkema (2-2) allowed one run, three earned, and six hits in seven innings. He struck out four batters and walked five.

Southern Miss 14, Old Dominion 4
Southern Miss scored 11 of its runs with two outs and beat visiting Old Dominion on Saturday afternoon for its 10th win in the last 11 games.

Gabe Montenegro, Hunter Slater, Bryant Bowen and Danny Lynch each recorded three hits, with the freshman Lynch setting a new career-high. Montenegro also reached base for the 11th time out of his last 12 games.

The Golden Eagles (14-6, 5-0 Conference USA) scored all their runs in the first six innings, including four-spots in the fourth and sixth. The 15 hits were also a season high.

“We were able to keep the momentum in our dugout by scoring runs and getting two-out hits,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “We used a lot of pitchers and scattered a lot of hits, but we only allowed those four runs. I was happy with our approach to the plate and that our pitchers pitched to contact, and for the most part, we played real good defense. The story is definitely about our two-out RBIs.”