Mississippi left fielder Kevin Graham hit a three-run home run late in the first inning and UM starter Dylan DeLucia got him up in a 4-2 Rebels win over the Bulldogs on Thursday night for open the series for both teams. at Swayze Field in Oxford.
UM took advantage of an extra out in that first inning and Graham made Mississippi State pay with their three-run home run to right field. Justin Bench had thrown a left single and, with two outs, Kemp Alderman hit an error at second base that kept the inning alive. Graham’s home run against Bulldogs starter Brandon Smith was unequivocal and State trailed 3-0 after the first of the two teams at bat.
Buoyed by the early lead, DeLucia went through the first four innings on one hit. Only Logan Tanner reached it safely, by way of a hit that peeked the pitcher’s glvoe, and the Bulldogs hit four times.
Smith bounced back from that first set to retire seven straight in the fourth set. He eliminated four rebels during this period.
Left fielder Brad Cumbest broke State’s scoreless drought, drilling an 0-2 pitch off the left field wall with one out at fifth. It was his 11th homer of the season, tying RJ Yeager and Hunter Hines for the team lead.
Hayden Dunhurst got that comeback for Ole Miss in the bottom of the fifth. He hit a break point 1-2 into the Rebel bullpen on the right and it was back to a Bulldog three-point deficit, 4-1. A walk and hit with two outs kept Smith in hot water, but he got the final on a pop up to Yeager in second.
Kellum Clark joined the home run parade early in the seventh. His two-out solo bomb to the right cut Ole Miss’s lead to two runs, 4-2. Like Cumbest before him, the round trip was Clark’s 11th of the season.
Smith’s night ended to start the bottom of the seventh. Drew Talley came on for Smith, who allowed just one earned run in six innings with nine strikeouts, a career high. Talley took out the first Rebel, but allowed a pair of runners to double and walk, and State went to the pen for southpaw Cam Tullar. The southpaw stoked Jacob Gonzalez for the second out of the inning. It was back to the relief corps, and Jackson Fristoe came in to face Tim Elko, who he retired on an liner right.
DeLucia finished the night’s outing with a 1-2-3 ninth.