Mississippi State head coach John Cohen watched his team make three errors in a 6-2 loss to Ole Miss Saturday Photo by: MSU athletics
April 28, 2012 6:42:05 PM
STARKVILLE - Charity is not a personal trait Mississippi State University baseball coach John Cohen wants his team to be proficient in at Dudy Noble Field.
From where fourth-year coach normally stands in the Bulldogs dugout, Cohen watched his defense give up three errors not more than 20 yards from vantage point at third base.
Two of those errors occurred in the same seventh inning, which allowed the University of Mississippi to even the weekend series with a 6-2 victory in Starkville.
"There's about 5 plays that we did not make and you're not going to win any day in our league when you make the four or five blunders that we made," MSU coach John Cohen said.
The momentum for Ole Miss' seventh inning got started with a throwing error by sophomore Daryl Norris on a ground ball where he had to look the Rebels Will Allen back to second base. Norris uncorked a curveball to first baseman Wes Rea's glove side causing Ole Miss freshman Austin Bousfield to be safe on the play.
Five pitches later Ole Miss' Austin Anderson untied the score for good with a single down the right field line. Causing more havoc on the play was senior right fielder Brent Brownlee airmailing second baseman Matthew Britton for the cutoff throw and Norris' inability to block the ball while getting down on both knees. The error by Norris, his second of the inning, allowed pinch runner Blake Newalu to easily make it 4-2 in favor of the visitors.
Ole Miss (28-15, 10-10 in Southeastern Conference) got a masterful relief effort from senior R.J. Hively as the 6-foot-2 right-hander, who had been taking out of the starting rotation last week to help the bullpen, allowed just one hit (a single to Adam Frazier) through four shutout innings to earn the victory.
Hively (4-3) hasn't given up a run yet in his bullpen role and kept MSU off balance with dominate off-speed pitches for pop outs and less than fully contacted outs.
"R.J. was terrific out there, just a warrior at the end, the last four innings," Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. "When you make the move (to the bullpen), that's what you hope for. Certainly he did it last Saturday in that 1-0 game against Arkansas. And he did it again today."
MSU (26-17, 9-11 in SEC) turned to junior right-hander Kendall Graveman (3-3) but the SEC pitcher of the week honoree struggled to keep the ball down in the first inning.
"I really felt like Kendall threw better than he got," Cohen said. "He made the one poor pitch there, a changeup, to Snyder that left the ballpark. He didn't have much power sink as he as. Those numbers of fly ball outs is not who Kendall is. He pitched well enough to win this ballpark but we didn't defend it well enough behind him."
Graveman's lack of sink caused a two-run home run to left field by Ole Miss power hitter Matt Snyder.
Of the 13 home runs Ole Miss has hit in conference play, eight have been from Snyder giving him 39 in his career.
"In that first inning, (Graveman) wasn't running it and sinking it as well as he should've (and) leaving the ball up a little bit," MSU junior catcher Mitch Slauter said.
Slauter answered the Rebels deep shot with one of his own in the sixth frame to tie the score. On a line drive that appeared to bounce off the top of the outfield wall and into the Left Field Lounge tailgate area, Slauter tied the game at two a piece with his third home run of the season and second of the week.
In more bad news for the MSU squad, a hard collision in right-centerfield between Bulldogs outfielders C.T. Bradford and Brent Brownlee led to a re-injuring of the Bradford already ailing shoulder. The sophomore had to take himself out of the game and results of his condition were unknown at the end of the game. Brownlee, who is also dealing with a serious knee injury as well, was able to stay in the game.
The victory marked Ole Miss' seventh victory in Starkville in its last eight games at Dudy Noble Field and the rubber game of this series is set for 1:30 p.m. The Bulldogs are trying to become the first home team to win this rivalry series since 2007.
Mississippi State (26-16, 9-10) 4,
Ole Miss (27-15, 9-10) 0
W - R.J. Hively (4-3) 4 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 2 K in 52 pitches
L - Kendall Graveman (3-3) 6.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, BB, 4 K in 90 pitches
MVP: Ole Miss RH reliever R.J. Hively
Turning point: 7th inning - Ole Miss took the lead for good when some defensive problems led to two runs. The Rebels stretched the lead in ninth inning with two unearned scores, including a run trotting home on a wild pitched third strike.
Numbers of the day
1 - Amount of home runs Mississippi State junior starting pitcher Kendall Graveman has given up this season. It's the seventh of his college career.
8 1/3 - Amount of scoreless innings the Ole Miss bullpen has pitched against Mississippi State this season. A trio of relievers combined for a 4 1/3-inning shutout a week ago in Pearl.
.179 - The batting average for MSU redshirt freshman first baseman Wes Rea since April 13.
51 - Number of double plays Mississippi State has turned this season.
7 - Amount of times Mississippi State has made three errors in a baseball game this season.
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