STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – A doubleheader day began with Mississippi State matching a season high for runs in an inning with an eight-run third inning against in-state rival No. 3 Ole Miss Saturday afternoon.
That big at-bat lifted the Bulldogs past the Rebels 13-3 in the opening game of a Southeastern Conference doubleheader. Ole Miss evened the series with a 6-1 victory in the nightcap at Dudy Noble Field.
“Konnor (Pilkington) had a solid start for us,” MSU head coach Gary Henderson said. “He settled down after the home run. It was nice to have the big inning because we haven’t had a lot of those. The team was more relaxed after that. We had six hits from the last three spots in the lineup in the win. That’s important.
“In the second game, we gave up some big hits with two outs and two strikes. If we locate better on some of those pitches, we get out of those innings. Ethan (Small) was not as sharp he has been. When that happens, you have to pick him offensively and we weren’t able to do that.”
MSU is now 16-16 overall and 3-8 in league play, while Ole Miss is 27-5 and 7-4.
The two sides will retake the field on Sunday for a 1 p.m. CT first pitch in the series rubber match, which will air live on SEC Network+.
The Bulldogs rallied from an early 2-0 deficit for sixth straight win against the Rebels.
After pulling even to enter the third inning, the Bulldogs then sent 12 batters to the plate and scored eight times, which was also done earlier this season in a win over Nicholls.
The offensive explosion would be more than enough for Pilkington, who earned his first win in conference play this season. Pilkington (2-4) threw seven innings, allowing five hits and three runs (two earned), with seven strikeouts and a walk.
Offensively, the Bulldogs had their best performance this season in conference play in runs scored (13) and second best in hits (14). 13 runs is also the largest run total the Rebels have allowed in 2018.
Marshall Gilbert led the way with his first three-hit game as a Bulldog. Tanner Allen also had three hits, while Hunter Vansau and Josh Hatcher each had two hits.
The big blows in the eight-run inning included a three-run double by Allen, two-run single by Hatcher and RBI-double by Jake Mangum.
The Bulldogs then expanded the lead with three runs in the fifth inning. Rowdey Jordan had an RBI-double, while Vansau and Allen had RBI-singles in that at-bat.
Keegan James threw two innings of shutout relief for the Bulldogs.
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