OXFORD, Miss. - Trailing by one after three innings, the No. 6 Mississippi State baseball program scored nine runs in the fourth on its way to a 11-5 victory and a Southeastern Conference series sweep of No. 14 Ole Miss at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field on Sunday (May 12).
The series sweep is the third in SEC play this season for the Diamond Dawgs and first SEC sweep on the road since taking all three games against the Rebels during the 2017 season in Oxford. In the history of the series, it is the first time that Mississippi State (42-10, 18-9 SEC) has swept back-to-back three-game series at Ole Miss (32-20, 15-12 SEC).
In 2019, MSU has swept Alabama, Georgia and Ole Miss in conference play, with UGA and UM each being ranked at the time of the meetings.
After Ole Miss grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first, Mississippi State tied the score with a run in the third. A Rebel run in the bottom of the third pushed the home team ahead, 2-1, before the Diamond Dawgs tallied nine runs in the fourth inning. UM wasn't done, however, scoring one in the fourth and two in the eighth to inch closer, before State added one in the ninth to account for the final score of 11-5.
The nine-run fourth inning is the highest-scoring inning in an SEC game since the Diamond Dawgs tallied nine runs in the fourth inning of the second game in a doubleheader versus Alabama on April 12, 2017. It is the second-highest scoring inning this season for MSU, behind a 10-run frame versus ULM on April 3.
Senior Peyton Plumlee (5-3) gave the Diamond Dawgs his second-straight solid start with 7 2/3 innings of work to earn the victory. He allowed five runs - four earned - on seven hits. He walked two and struck out three, throwing a career-high 116 pitches in the game.
Freshman Brandon Smith recorded the final out of the eighth, before graduate student Cole Gordon fired a scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts.
Offensively, sophomore Tanner Allen was on base four times, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a walk, a run scored and one RBI. Junior Dustin Skelton chipped in three hits, one run scored and one RBI, while Jake Mangum had a pair of hits, scored one run and drove in one RBI. Senior Marshall Gilbert posted MSU's fifth multi-hit game of the afternoon with two hits, one RBI and three runs scored. Freshman Luke Hancock and sophomores Rowdey Jordan and Jordan Westburg drove in two RBIs each in the game.
Head Coach Chris Lemonis
On what he saw from Peyton Plumlee
"[Peyton] was really good today. The fastball was sinking and the changeup was good. He was able to get them to beat the ball into the ground a lot. When we make plays [behind him defensively], he's really good."
On the approach with two outs in the nine-run fourth inning
"We've [had a good two-out approach] for most of the year. If you've watched us enough, we've strung some hits together [with two outs]. We had the rally last night and the rally today. When we get hot like that, we have a lot of good hitters that can build [momentum] from each other's at bats."
Double-Digits - Mississippi State reached double figures in the runs column for the 16th time in 2019 and fifth in SEC play.
Nine-Run Fourth - The nine-run fourth inning is the highest scoring SEC inning for Mississippi State since a nine-run sixth inning versus Alabama on April 21, 2017. MSU won that game, 13-12, in 13 innings.
Peyton Plumlee - Threw a season-best 7 2/3 innings on a career-high 116 pitchers to earn the win. Allowed five runs - four earned - on seven hits. Struck out three and walked two.
Multi-Hit Madness - Five Diamond Dawgs posted multi-hit games, led by three each from Tanner Allen and Dustin Skelton. Marshall Gilbert, Rowdey Jordan and Jake Mangum chipped in two hits apiece.
Tanner Allen - Posted a 3-for-4 day at the plate and added a walk too
Thomas Dillard - Drove in the first two runs of the game for Ole Miss. Tripled to drive in a run in the first and hit a sacrifice fly in the third.
The Rebels got an early start again, using a pair of hits to score one run against MSU starting pitcher Peyton Plumlee with two outs in the inning. After a pair of groundouts, Tyler Keenan singled and Thomas Dillard followed with an RBI triple to right-center field.
Ole Miss 1, Mississippi State 0
Marshall Gilbert started the inning with a walk and moved to third on a Jake Mangum single. Jordan Westburg then knotted the score with a ground out.
Mississippi State 1, Ole Miss 1
Ole Miss took the lead back in the bottom of the frame when a pair of singles and a walk with one out loaded the bases. Dillard delivered again with a sacrifice fly to the warning track in center field.
Ole Miss 2, Mississippi State 1
After the first two batters of the inning were retired, the next 10 Bulldog hitters reached base safely and all nine hitters in the order scored one run. Dustin Skelton started the two-out rally with a single and Gunner Halter followed with a base hit. Gilbert plated the first run with a single, before an intentional walk to Mangum loaded the bases. Westburg and Tanner Allen each worked a base on balls to force runs across, before pinch hitter Luke Hancock plated a pair with a single. Justin Foscue and Rowdey Jordan followed with back-to-back RBI singles, before Skelton capped the inning with an RBI base hit. In all, State scored nine runs on seven hits against three UM pitchers. The inning also featured three walks.
Mississippi State 10, Ole Miss 2
The Rebels got a run back in the frame thanks to a pair of Bulldog errors. Kevin Graham reached on a single and moved to second on a throwing error by Foscue, who was playing the shift. Plumlee retired the next two batters, before a throwing error by Westburg extended the inning and allowed Graham to come around to score.
Mississippi State 10, Ole Miss 3
Plumlee again retired the first two batters, before a pair of singles put two on base. Freshman Brandon Smith entered and allowed back-to-back hits, scoring two, before getting out of the inning with a flyout.
Mississippi State 10, Ole Miss 5
A pair of two-out doubles from Gilbert and Mangum scored the final run of the game.
Mississippi State 11, Ole Miss 5