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MSU baseball beats Ole Miss in Pearl

 

By The Associated Press

 

PEARL -- The University of Mississippi baseball team was in a generous mood Tuesday night. 

 

Mississippi State didn''t complain. 

 

Kendall Graveman pitched four scoreless innings to lead Mississippi State to a 6-1 victory against Ole Miss before an announced crowd of 7,334 in the Governor''s Cup at Trustmark Park.  

 

The Bulldogs capitalized on three critical errors. 

 

"Ole Miss helped us out a little, but you know we took advantage of it and that''s important," MSU coach John Cohen said. "It was a sloppy game. Our kids hung in there. I thought we pitched it pretty good." 

 

Graveman (4-0) earned the win for the Bulldogs, which was their first in the annual rivalry game since 2008. He scattered three hits and one walk and threw only 33 pitches and faced 14 batters. 

 

"We went with Graveman because he''s a sinker pitcher," Cohen said. "He got enough groundballs to keep us going and threw a lot of strikes." 

 

MSU (23-14) scored two runs in the first inning, helped by a fielding error by starting pitcher Matt Tracy that allowed C.T. Bradford to score from third base. Wes Thigpen then drove in Jarrod Parks on a groundout. 

 

"I think we just put pressure on them," MSU senior Cody Freeman said. "Even if they were cheap hits -- just putting pressure on the defense and not striking out. Making them make the plays." 

 

The Bulldogs scored another run in the fifth inning after Matt Smith dropped a routine fly ball and added two more in the seventh to take a 6-0 lead. The Rebels (23-15) scored their only run in the eighth. 

 

Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said the fielding woes have been a recent trend. 

 

"We just shoot ourselves in the foot too many times," Bianco said. "We make errors at the wrong time, and really dumb errors. I don''t know if it''s a lack of focus or what but it''s disappointing ... I think after we missed that fly ball it kind of knocked the wind out of our sails and we didn''t have a lot of good at-bats after that." 

 

MSU overcame three errors. Chad Girodo pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief, giving up one run. Taylor Stark pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 to close the game. 

 

Jarrod Parks, C.T. Bradford, and Wes Thigpen all had two hits for the Bulldogs. 

 

Matt Tracy (3-3) took the loss, giving up five runs in 6 1/3 innings. Alex Yarbrough had two hits. 

 

The Bulldogs improved to 7-5 at Trustmark Park, sweeping this year''s two-game set. The win Tuesday night came 14 days after a 5-4 triumph against Southern Mississippi. 

 

The attendance was the third largest in Governor''s Cup history. 

 

MSU will play host to defending national champion and No. 2 South Carolina at 7 p.m. Friday (ESPNU) in the first game of a three-game weekend series. The teams will meet at 6 p.m. Saturday (Fox Sports Net South) and at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. 

 

 

 

 

 

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