Diamond Rebs look to bounce back in Governor’s Cup

Posted on Apr 9 2013 - 8:32pm by Matt Sigler

Coming off a five-game losing streak, No. 23 Ole Miss will look to get things back on track against in-state foe No. 21 Mississippi State in the annual Governor’s Cup in Pearl at Trustmark Park tonight at 6:30 p.m.

Josh Laxer at the game against Arkansas State. (File Photo: Tyler Jackson/The DM)

The No. 23 Ole Miss Rebels and No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs will match up tonight in Pearl in the annual battle for the Governor’s Cup. The Rebels (23-9, 4-8 SEC) and Bulldogs (26-9, 5-7 SEC) have split the series 3-3 since the renaming of the rivalry in 2007. The Rebels enter the game on a five-game skid, while the Bulldogs come in after a loss to Florida on Sunday.

Sophomore right-hander Josh Laxer will get the start for Ole Miss. He is 2-0 on the year with a 2.45 ERA in seven appearances, four of which were starts. Laxer, a Madison native, said he is excited to get to pitch near his hometown.

“You gotta love it,” Laxer said. “It’s where I’m from, and I get to see people that hopefully follow me from high school and come down there and watch. Our team had a lot of success there last year, and hopefully, we continue that going down there.”

Laxer and the Rebels know that this game carries a little more weight, not just because it’s a rivalry game, but also because the team is looking to get back into the win column after losing their last five games.

“It’s a big game for us,” Laxer said. “Number one, its Mississippi State, and number two, because we do need a win. Some things just didn’t happen for us this past weekend. We’re definitely expecting a good bounce back after (tonight’s) game.”

Head coach Mike Bianco also recognizes the importance of the matchup with Mississippi State.

“We’ve got to play like we can play,” Bianco said. “I have no doubt that we’ll play like that on Tuesday against your arch-rival.”

Mississippi State will send sophomore right-hander Brandon Woodruff to the mound. Woodruff is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA this season, and tonight’s game will mark his sixth start of the year. Last season Woodruff started against Ole Miss in the Governor’s Cup and was handed the loss in that contest.

At the plate, the Bulldogs are led by slugger Hunter Renfroe, a junior outfielder, who leads the team in batting average (.417), home runs (10), RBI (38) and total bases (88). He is second on the team with 45 hits only to junior infielder Adam Frazier who has 49.

The Rebels are continually led by junior catcher Stuart Turner at the plate, who is coming off a 4-for-5 outing this past Sunday. He is hitting .409 with three home runs and 35 RBI. Junior shortstop Austin Anderson is the only other Rebel with a batting average higher than .300 at .319 and is second on the team with 38 hits and 25 RBI.

The Rebels and Bulldogs are scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch from Trustmark Park, home of the AA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.

Rebels, Memphis rescheduled for April 15
The regular season game between Ole Miss and Memphis that was rained out a week ago has been rescheduled for Monday, April 15, at AutoZone Park with a 6:30 p.m. first pitch, it was announced on Monday.
Ole Miss Sports Information contributed to this report.
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