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MSU, Ole Miss, Alabama earn baseball sweep

 

From Special Reports

 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Chris Stratton and Caleb Reed combined on the mound Sunday to lead the Mississippi State baseball team to a 5-2 victory against the University of Tennessee at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. 

 

The victory helped MSU (29-18, 11-13 Southeastern Conference) complete a three-game sweep of the weekend series. 

 

Stratton (5-5) worked the first 5 2/3 innings to garner the win. Reed completed the contest to secure his ninth save. The duo allowed eight hits and two earned runs, with two walks and 13 strikeouts. The 13 strikeouts were the most for the MSU pitching staff in a conference game this season. 

 

"Chris Stratton did what we needed him to do today: He threw strikes," MSU coach John Cohen said. "This was the Chris Stratton we've come to know and love. It is good to get him back in form. Caleb Reed was a flat-out warrior on the mound for us in relief again. He pitched his heart out for us." 

 

All three MSU starting pitchers worked past the fifth inning this weekend. All three also earned victories. The Bulldogs never trailed in the series. For MSU, it was their first three-game series sweep on the Tennessee campus. It was also MSU's first three-game conference road sweep since it took all three at Alabama in 2004. 

 

Tennessee falls to 22-23 and 5-19. The Volunteers have lost eight straight this season, and five straight to the Bulldogs. 

 

MSU is now tied with Auburn and Ole Miss for third place in the Western Division standings and seventh in the league standings. 

 

"This could not have come at a better time for us," Cohen said. "We've won five in a row heading into a very important stretch of the season. We've got to keep on a roll." 

 

Cody Freeman and Jarrod Parks each had multiple hits. Parks extended his hit streak to 20 games. The Bulldog third baseman has hit safely in 22 of his 23 starts in conference play this season.     

 

MSU will play host to Mississippi Valley State at 4 p.m. Tuesday in a doubleheader at Dudy Noble Field. Both games will be nine innings. Conference play resumes Thursday night when MSU will play Ole Miss in Game 1 of a three-game weekend set in Oxford. 

 

n Ole Miss 7, No. 1 South Carolina 6: At Oxford, Preston Overbey's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday lifted the Rebels past the Gamecocks in Game 3 of their series finale at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field. 

 

Tracy drew a leadoff walk off against closer Matt Price - only the 11th of the season - to start the ninth. He then moved from first to third on a single by Miles Hamblin. Overbey's fly out to right center gave Ole Miss (27-21, 11-13) the win. 

 

South Carolina slips to 37-10 and 18-6. 

 

The win gave the Rebels a series win against the top-seeded Gamecocks. It is the second time in the past three seasons the Rebels have hosted the top-ranked team in the nation and walked away with a series win. Ole Miss took the series from then No. 1 Georgia in 2009 on the way to the Southeastern Conference championship. 

 

"This weekend was terrific," said Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco. "It was a special weekend and one that helps our team tremendously. Even though the win today was much different than yesterday, it was great to see our guys keep it together all the way through. The team that wins normally gets the timely hit, and we were able to that today." 

 

Jake Morgan (3-0) worked the final 2 1/3 innings for the win. He held the Gamecocks scoreless with only two hits and a strikeout. He has three wins and five saves in 10 relief appearances after missing almost seven weeks from March 20 through April 30. 

 

For the second straight day, Ole Miss got off to a quick start with two runs in the first inning as the Rebels took advantage of a fielding error on a two-out, RBI-single up the middle from Matt Tracy to push a pair of runs home. 

 

The lead grew to three runs in the third as Blake Newalu scored on a bases-loaded walk of Miles Hamblin. 

 

The Gamecocks took the lead in the fifth inning, scoring three runs on a triple to right field from Brady Thomas. Thomas scored two batters later on a single that gave South Carolina a 5-3 lead. 

 

Matt Snyder responded in the bottom the fifth, coming up with a two-run home run to tie the game at five. Alex Yarbrough scored on the shot into the home bullpen in left field after opening the inning with a walk. 

 

Ole Miss will play host to Mississippi State at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (ESPNU). The games Friday and Saturday in the series will begin at 7 p.m. SportSouth will televise them. 

 

n Alabama 9, LSU 0: At Tuscaloosa, Ala., Senior left-hander Jonathan Smart pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings Sunday to lift the Crimson Tide past the Tigers at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. 

 

Smart (4-1) struck out four and scattered eight hits to help Alabama (30-12, 12-12) win its second game in a row and clinch the series. 

 

LSU falls to 30-19 and 8-16. 

 

Smart was making just his third start of the year. Alabama supported him with a SEC-high 15 hits, including a season-high three home runs. 

 

"This was probably our best game all year," Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said. "Jonathan Smart was just tremendous all day long. We had really good offense early on and Austen Smith capped off the second with a grand slam. We had a lot of good swings throughout the day. Offense, defense and pitching were just tremendous all day. It was a complete game and one that we needed." 

 

Junior center fielder Taylor Dugas went 3-for-5 with three runs scored, a double, and a home run. Freshman designated hitter Austen Smith went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, including a grand slam in the second inning. Junior shortstop Jared Reaves was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, freshman first baseman Patrick McGavin was 3-for-4 with one run scored, and senior catcher Brock Bennett was 2-for-5. 

 

Sunday marked the first time Alabama shut out an SEC opponent in back-to-back games since 1990, when it defeated Mississippi 2-0 and 9-0 in consecutive games. 

 

LSU was held scoreless in back-to-back games for the first time since 1982. 

 

n EMCC 3-4, Jones County 2-10: At Ellisville, The East Mississippi Community College Lions parlayed a complete-game pitching effort with a clutch two-run home run into a 3-2 victory against No. 14 Jones County in Game 2 of the best-of-three MACJC playoff series at JCJC's Community Bank Park. 

 

But the home-standing Bobcats bounced back in the decisive nightcap to advance to next week's MACJC State Baseball Tournament. 

 

In the first game Saturday, EMCC rallied behind starting pitcher Kameron Heiser to shake off the effects of a 13-0 setback Friday to the two-time defending MACJC South Division champion Bobcats. 

 

Just six weeks removed from having an appendectomy, Heiser, a sophomore right-hander, did not allow a JCJC runner to get into scoring position while holding the Bobcats scoreless through the first seven innings. Though giving up solo tallies in each of the final two innings, the former West Lauderdale standout limited Jones County to just five hits, with three strikeouts and three walks, to even his season record at 3-3 with the complete-game victory. 

 

Former Caledonia High School standout Tyler Aldridge had an RBI single, and former Oak Hill Academy standout Mitch Bohon smacked his team-leading seventh home run of the season to give EMCC a 3-0 lead after five innings.    

 

In the nightcap, the Bobcats reached starting pitcher Lance Portera for four quick runs in the opening frame. 

 

Aldridge had a two-out RBI single, and Bohon had an RBI to trim the deficit to 4-3. But the Bobcats tacked on four runs in the fifth to extend the lead to 8-3. 

 

With their first postseason baseball playoff appearance since 2004, first-year coach Chris Rose's EMCC Lions finished the 2011 campaign 17-29 and 14-10 in the MACJC North Division mark following a 1-18 start to the season. 

 

 

 

ICC baseball to hold tryouts May 12 

 

FULTON -- Itawamba C.C. baseball Coach Rick Collier will conduct tryouts at 1 p.m. Thursday at Crubaugh Field on the Fulton campus. 

 

Tryouts are open to all high school grad

 

 

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