OXFORD, Miss. (WCBI Sports/Ole Miss Athletics) – For the first time this season the Rebels tasted defeat as Ole Miss (6-1) mounted one rally, but couldn’t put together a second and fell to Georgia State (4-3) by a score of 6-4 in the series finale on Sunday.
The Rebels missed out on a second consecutive series sweep this season after picking up wins in the first two games by scores of 3-0 and 9-1.
“It was tough on all the pitchers today,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “They are very good offensively, and it was just a tough day to pitch. Sam (Smith) really battled, but they got a lot of good swings off today throughout the game. Sam gave us a chance to win just like he always does on Sunday, leaving the game with the lead. I’m proud of him for hanging in there, but it just wasn’t our day.”
Freshman reliever Cheyne Bickel (0-1) took the loss for the Rebels, surrendering a two-run home run in the seventh inning as he allowed the two runs on two hits with a strikeout in 1.0 inning of work.
Georgia State starter Matt Rose (1-0) picked up the win as he worked a complete game, allowing four runs on eight hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
The Panthers got out to the quick lead, scoring two runs in the first inning to mark the second straight day the visiting team would score first. Georgia State got back-to-back singles to open the game and put runners at the corners. The Rebels got back-to-back strikeouts, but on the second one, the Panthers executed a double steal and Chad Prain slid in safely at home to get on the board. Chase Raffield then delivered an RBI double to right field to bring home the second run before Ole Miss would get out of the inning.
The Rebels answered in the bottom half of the inning, using a two-RBI double from Will Allen to tie the game. Braxton Lee and Austin Anderson scored on the play after the two batters reached when Lee was hit by a pitch and Anderson drew a walk. The Allen hit tied the game at 2-2.
Ole Miss moved into the lead in the second inning when Will Jamison drove in Colby Bortles. Bortles opened the inning with a triple to the wall in left center, setting up the score on the Jamison hit through the right side.
Georgia State tied the game in the fifth on a triple from Chris Triplett that brought Ryan Blanton home. Blanton reached on a single before a sac bunt and a ground ball to second moved him to third as the Panthers executed a game of station to station baseball.
Errol Robinson would score in the home half of the fifth to move Ole Miss back in front for the second time on the afternoon. Robinson opened the inning on a single to right and took second on a ground ball to first. He then scored on a two-out single through the right side from Anderson to put the Rebels up 4-3.
It would be the last lead of the day for Ole Miss as Georgia State got a two-run home run in the seventh from Triplett to go back on top. A solo shot from Blanton took the lead out to two runs in the eighth and the score held from there as the Rebels fell 6-4.
Ole Miss will return to action on Tuesday afternoon when the Rebels take the field to face the ULM Warhawks at 4 p.m. It’s the first game of a two-game midweek series and continues a 13-game home stand for the Rebels.