May 12, 2013 6:16:17 PM
OXFORD - Twelve outs away from being swept by it's hated in-state rival, a pre-game image appeared in the minds of the Mississippi State University baseball players.
"There was this big, black bear thing in front of our dugout waving a broom before the game," MSU coach John Cohen said in reference to the Ole Miss mascot. "I think our kids thought about that down 6-0. They were not going to let (the sweep) happen."
Down 6-0 in the sixth inning, No. 21 MSU executed the program's biggest comeback victory in over two years to escape Swayze Field with a 7-6 win to avoid its first sweep in Oxford since 2005. The victory marked the biggest comeback for MSU since defeating the University of Georgia 11-10 on March 28, 2010 when MSU was down 10-2 in the eighth inning.
"I can't remember many six-run deficits in our league this year," Cohen said. "I think with the performance of the bats, pitching and defense in our league, being down
In a five-run sixth frame, MSU batted around and got RBIs from senior catcher Nick Ammirati, junior outfielder Demarcus Henderson and junior designated hitter Alex Detz to bring the deficit to 6-5.
Before the sixth, MSU (37-15, 14-13 in Southeastern Conference) was limited to just two hits by Ole Miss starting pitcher Bobby Wahl. The projected first draft pick, who had thrown 15 pitches in a suspended game Friday night, was looking to run his record to 10-0 before being chased from the game after just 5 1/3 innings as the junior right hander fought through command issues all afternoon.
"The moment we got Bobby Wahl out of the game was so big because we got a couple hits after that and then that just set the tone," MSU junior shortstop Adam Frazier said.
Frazier had the game-winning single in the seventh inning that drove home two runs as the junior shortstop completed his first four-RBI day at the plate.
"It's easy to say things are going our way and feel sorry for yourself," Cohen said. "The hard thing is giving yourself a chance to do what we did today."
Before Sunday's game, Ole Miss (35-17, 14-13) was 28-2 this season when leading after six innings but the bullpen combination of Jeremy Massie, Scott Weathersby, Matt Denny and Aaron Greenwood couldn't maintain its first sweep of MSU in Oxford since 2005.
"This will go down as we blew the lead (and) had a six-run lead going into the sixth inning," Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. "The truth of the matter is they just played better. They hit better and ultimately they pitched better."
MSU junior right-handed reliever Ben Bracewell (1-1), who has suffered through two separate medical procedures on his throwing arm, earned his first college career victory Sunday with his longest career outing. Bracewell got the final 15 outs of the game and allowed just one hit. The former Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger All-American out of high school didn't allow the baseball out of the infield for the final two innings.
"I knew I was kind of in it for the long haul and I just felt like I had really good command of it today," Bracewell said. "We were in a state of panic after yesterday and this gives us so much confidence going into that South Carolina series."
For MSU, who stands sixth in the SEC now, to earn the final bye in the SEC tournament the Bulldogs now must sweep the University of South Carolina and hope for Louisiana State University to win one game against Ole Miss in the final regular season weekend.
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