April 13, 2014 6:46:53 PM
STARKVILLE -- Often times a team can let a Saturday collapse turn into a series loss. Ole Miss was determined to not be that team which compounds mistakes.
The Rebels took advantage of another lackluster Sunday pitching performance to pound Mississippi State for 20 hits in a 12-2 victory Sunday at Dudy Noble Field.
After watching a second consecutive Sunday effort where his club gave up double digit runs and completed a weekend where they left 36 runners on base, MSU coach John Cohen wasn't in a friendly mood.
"I'm not sure we could've beaten a very good junior high baseball team today," Cohen said. "We were absolutely uninspired in every phase of the game. Really disappointing."
Cohen said after the blowout loss it was 'clear to him the direction the program had to go' but when asked what specifically did have to change with this MSU (22-15, 7-8 in Southeastern Conference) club, Cohen informally invited the public out to today's practice session.
"I guess you'll have to show up at practice (Monday) to find that out," Cohen said. "I think what we've done in the second half has been done very well, if you look at it statistically. Days like today are times where we're not representing ourselves very well."
Less than 24 hours after seeing a three-run lead dissolve in the 10th inning for a crushing Saturday defeat in front of the nation's largest on-campus college baseball crowd, Ole Miss (29-9, 9-6) dominated MSU's Sunday pitching options Ben Bracewell and Brandon Woodruff for nine runs over just five innings.
"They're a team that loves to hit and run, use their speed and then pitch to their pace on the mound," Ole Miss third baseman Austin Anderson said. "When you get up on them 6-0 early, it take everything they want to do completely off the table."
Anderson got four of his six hits this weekend Sunday afternoon as he was one of three Ole Miss players with multiple RBIs on the day. Preston Overbey was 3 of 5 with 3 RBIs near the bottom of the Rebels order.
Ole Miss was 13 of 26 Sunday with runners in scoring position and had six stolen bases against MSU's catcher combination of Gavin Collins and Cody Walker. The Rebels came to Starkville among the leaders in the SEC in nearly every offensive category and leave with a series win knowing they were one out away from its first sweep over MSU since Cohen's first season in 2010.
"We've had a lot of great moments to this season already but yesterday was hard," Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. "We've been that resilient, tough team that realizes you're going to be kicked in the face and get off the mat."
MSU has been outscored 29-6 in the last two Sunday games against LSU and Ole Miss. In those two outings, the Bulldogs have tried used eight different pitches in those contests in the desperate hope to find a suitable replacement for injured starting pitcher Preston Brown.
"We just not executing anything we want to, especially on the mound, and that bleeds into everything else but we're going to," Cohen said. "We're going to right the right personnel and the right people. Not having Preston Brown is not an excuse."
After the game, Cohen demanded his team go straight to the clubhouse for a post-game chat that lasted around 10 minutes. The last time that act was organized was Feb. 23 after a 6-1 loss to Holy Cross to split a season series with the Crusaders from the Patriot League.
"It's take over time and the second half of the season," Cohen said. "There is a lot left out there for us."
The loss sends MSU into a five-way tie for seventh in the conference and three-way tie for fourth in the Southeastern Conference. Currently, the Bulldogs are one game away from being on the outside looking in for qualification to the 12-team SEC Tournament. One day after watching MSU dog pile Collins following his walk-off hit in a 6-5 victory, the Rebels are in third place in the SEC and are in a solid position to host when NCAA postseason play rolls around in a month.
MSU will have a Tuesday night affair against Alcorn State (6-30) before traveling to Missouri, who sits in last place in the SEC after this weekend. It will be a return trip to Columbia, Mo., for Cohen as he was an assistant with the Tigers from 1995-97.
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
4. A Stone's Throw: Beware COLUMNS