STARKVILLE, Miss. – Luke Alexander’s two-run home run in the bottom of the 11th inning capped off an exciting 7-5 Southeastern Conference series-clinching win against rival Ole Miss this afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
With the win, the Diamond Dawgs took the series two games to one and improved to 17-16 (4-8 SEC), while the Rebels fell to 27-6 (7-5 SEC).
The series win marks the third straight season that MSU has taken the series against Ole Miss.
State got on the board first after Jake Mangum singled and later scored on a sacrifice-fly by Hunter Stovall to give the Diamond Dawgs a 1-0 lead.
Ole Miss then took a 2-1 lead in the top half of the third inning, but the lead didn’t last, as the Diamond Dawgs came back to tie the game on an RBI-single by Tanner Allen.
The Rebels regained the lead in the top of the fifth inning on a solo shot from Tyler Keenan.
In the seventh inning, Tanner Poole led off with a base hit. Mangum followed with a hit of his own. An error scored Poole, while a ground ball out scored Mangum and gave the MSU a 4-3 lead.
The Diamond Dawg lead would remain the same until the ninth inning when Ole Miss scored on back-to-back sacrifice flies to take a 5-4 lead.
In the bottom half of the ninth, Mangum’s hot day continued, as he singled and scored Poole to deadlock the ballgame at five runs apiece.
The squads battled it out in extra innings until Alexander hit a two-run, walk-off home run to give the Diamond Dawgs a 7-5 win over rival Ole Miss.
Aside from the walk-off homer, Mangum was the real story for MSU. He went 5-5, including the game-tying hit in the ninth inning as he scored Poole. Mangum became the first MSU baseball player with five hits in a game since doing it against Arkansas in the 2016 season.
As a team, State had 11 hits, led by Mangum’s five hits and two hits from Poole. The Rebels finished with 16 hits.
Jacob Billingsley got the start on the mound for the Dawgs, pitching three innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He struck out two batters and walked four batters.
Zach Neff came in to pitch in the fourth inning. He pitched 3.1 innings and allowed one run on eight hits. Cole Gordon pitched 1.2 innings and allowed two runs.
Blake Smith (3-0) pitched the final three innings and earned the win. He allowed no runs on one hit.
Will Stokes (1-1) took the loss for Ole Miss. He pitched 0.2 innings and allowed two runs.
The Diamond Dawgs will retake the road for a four-game road trip through the state of Alabama. It begins Wednesday in Montgomery against Alabama State (6 p.m. CT at Riverwalk Stadium) and will close with a three-game SEC weekend series at Auburn.