Georgia State shuts out Ole Miss

Published 9:30 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2017

In a game that remained scoreless through nine innings and forced extras, No. 14 Ole Miss fell 2-0 to Georgia State on Wednesday at Swayze Field. Despite a dominating performance from freshman pitcher Will Ethridge, the Panthers (7-5) scored a pair of runs in the 11th inning to claim the second game of the midweek series.

After striking out 10 over five innings in his Ole Miss debut two weeks ago, Ethridge was even better in his second start. The Liburn, Georgia, native sent down the first 17 hitters he faced and finished the night with 7 2/3 scoreless innings. He faced just two over the minimum during his time on the rubber, allowing only two hits to go along with 10 strikeouts and no walks.

At the top of the lineup, Ryan Olenek and Will Golsan recorded the hits for Ole Miss (8-5). Olenek went 2-for-4 to earn his team-leading fourth multi-hit game of the season.

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Four Ole Miss pitchers limited Georgia State to five hits through the contest. Mike Huggins produced at the bottom of the lineup with two hits while shortstop Justin Jones knocked in the only two runs of the game on a double in the final frame. Sidearm pitcher Logan Barnette (2-0) worked four innings of relief to earn the victory, and Rhett Harper closed the game for the Panthers.

Ethridge was perfect through the first 5 2/3 innings, retiring 17 straight hitters and striking out seven of them. The freshman’s perfect game was broken up with a single to center in the top of the sixth. However, there was no threat from the Panthers as Cooper Johnson threw the runner out trying to advance on a wild pitch.

In the top of the eighth, Ethridge allowed just his second hit on a base hit up the middle. With a rare runner on base, GSU elected to move him over on a sacrifice bunt. Working the next batter to a full count, Ethridge let one get away as it plunked the Panther at the plate. The sequence ended the day for Ethridge as head coach Mike Bianco brought Andy Pagnozzi out of the bullpen. After Pagnozzi issued a walk to load the bases, Dallas Woolfolk entered the contest in an effort to get the Rebels out of the bases-loaded jam. The hard-throwing righty did just that, sending the GSU second baseman down on strikes to keep the game tied at zero.

The game continued into extras without a single run coming across. In the bottom of the 10th, Ole Miss saw its best opportunity to score and win the game. Grae Kessinger walked to start the inning, and Nick Fortes placed a sac bunt in front of the mound to advance his teammate into scoring position. Golsan reached on a fielder’s choice as Fortes was thrown out at second before Olenek walked to load the bases. However, on a 3-2 pitch, Barnette hit the inside bottom corner of the strike zone to send the contest into the night.

Georgia State finally got to Woolfolk in the 11th as three hits, including two doubles, led to the game’s two runs. With nobody out, freshman Houston Roth came out of the bullpen and kept the margin at 2-0. Nonetheless, Harper retired the side in the bottom half to give the visitors the extra-innings win.

Ole Miss will host Furman in the final non-conference weekend series starting Friday at 6:30 p.m. before the start of SEC play. All three games will be broadcast live on the SEC Network Plus (web stream).