STARKVILLE – If anybody was going to give Mississippi State the lead on Sunday afternoon, head coach Chris Lemonis knew it was going to be Tanner Allen.
Allen stepped up to the plate in a bases loaded, two out situation with the game tied in the bottom of the sixth inning. After taking two balls to start the at-bat, Allen ripped a bases-clearing triple to put Mississippi State up by three runs.
No. 4 Mississippi State went on to beat No. 6 Ole Miss, 7-5, at Dudy Noble Field to clinch the series victory.
Mississippi State (27-8, 10-5 SEC) has now won 16 of the last 19 games and five-straight series against Ole Miss.
“I just turned to one of our coaches and I said ‘This is the guy you’d want at the plate in this moment,’” Lemonis said of Allen. “If anybody is going to do it, it’s going to be him. It was a great matchup for us at that point. When he fell behind 2-0, you had a feeling T.A. was going to get a swing off.”
Ole Miss (26-10, 9-6 SEC) took a 4-2 lead in the top of the sixth inning when Hayden Leatherwood hit a two-run home run to right field with two outs.
MSU pitcher Houston Harding got himself out of the inning, and the bottom of Mississippi State’s lineup woke up.
Logan Tanner, Josh Hatcher and Brayland skinner each hit one-out singles to cut the lead to 4-3. Forsythe then struck out, and Scotty Dubrule came up with one of the biggest hits of the game.
He ripped a 0-2 single into left field to score Hatcher and tie the game, 4-4.
“Those guys are really talented players,” Lemonis said of the bottom of the order. “It’s been a little frustrating, the consistency of play, but you’re talking about some guys who have played a lot of college baseball and it was nice to see them get some big hits.”
Rowdey Jordan then beat out an infield single to load the bases for Allen, and Allen got all 10,522 fans in Dudy Noble Field on their feet with his bases-clearing triple off Ole Miss pitcher Taylor Broadway.
“I knew I had to win the first pitch," Allen said. "I knew I wasn’t going to let him sneak a fastball by me. Normally guys who throw real hard try to throw it by you but when I got to 2-0 with the bases loaded in a clutch part of the game, I knew he didn’t want to walk the go-ahead run in so he had to give me one.
“I made a good swing and the rest is history.”
Ole Miss was able to scratch a fifth run off Mississippi State pitcher Brandon Smith in the eighth inning, but the Bulldogs turned to Landon Smith in the ninth inning to face the meat of the Rebels’ order.
Sims, who earned his fifth save of the year, went on to strike out Peyton Chatagnier before forcing Kevin Graham to fly out and Justin Bench to ground out to end the game.