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AT PEARL MS

Rooker hits 17th homer, leads No. 13 MSU to victory

938 days ago
Mississippi State Athletics
Photo: MSU Athletics

PEARL, Miss. - Brent Rooker was back doing Brent Rooker-type things for the No. 13 Mississippi State baseball team.

Rooker hit a three-run home run and had a double during another run-scoring inning as the Bulldogs beat Ole Miss 4-2 before a Trustmark Park-record crowd of 8,536 Tuesday night.

MSU took all four series meetings against the arch rival for the first time since 1997. The annual contest played close to the state's capital does not count in the Southeastern Conference standings.

"What a great night," head coach Andy Cannizaro said. "The atmosphere was great. I am excited because the kids played a complete nine innings tonight. We picked up some timely hits, played well defensively and pitched it well. We have been talking about playing better on Tuesday nights. We really played well in this game."

Denver McQuary (1-1) threw 5.1 innings to earn his first victory with the Maroon and White. The freshman right-hander allowed five hits and two runs (both earned), with four strikeouts and five walks. Peyton Plumlee worked the Bulldogs out of a tight spot in the sixth inning before being lifted in the seventh inning.

Trysten Barlow helped the Bulldogs out of the seventh inning and was lifted in the eighth inning. Jacob Billingsley got a nice play from Luke Alexander to get the Bulldogs out of the eighth inning. Riley Self was dominant in the ninth inning for his second save.

"Denver kept battling," Cannizaro said. "He couldn't locate his fastball early but he did a great job with his changeup. He threw it more often than he usually does. It was a pitch that was working so we kept going with it. The bullpen was really great after that. Riley was in complete control there in the last inning."

MSU (29-14) got all of the runs it would need in the fifth inning when Hunter Stovall and Jake Mangum got things started with back-to-back one-out hits. Brent Rooker crushed a ball to left center for his 17th home run of the season. Rooker's 17 homers are the most by an MSU player since 2009, when Connor Powers belted 19.

Ole Miss (25-16) battled back with two scores in the sixth inning but did not scratch again against the MSU bullpen. In the four victories, the Bulldogs only allowed nine runs.

The Bulldogs then got a critical insurance score in the eighth inning. Rooker hit a leadoff double and scored on a single by Ryan Gridley. Greer Holston (2-3) threw six innings and took the loss.

Ole Miss had seven hits and stranded 13 base runners. Will Golsan and Cooper Johnson had multiple hits for the Rebels. MSU finished with nine hits. Rooker, Stovall and Josh Lovelady each had two hits apiece.

State will return to Southeastern Conference play this weekend with a top 10 series against No. 5 Auburn that will open Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT from Dudy Noble Field. The opener will air on SEC Network+ via WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.