Ole Miss baseball faces Mississippi State in annual Governor’s Cup

Posted on Apr 24 2018 - 5:32am by John Macon Gillespie

Will Golsan rounds the bases after hitting his second home run of the night on Saturday. Ole Miss defeated Georgia 5-2. Photo by Taylar Teel

Ole Miss and Mississippi State will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Pearl’s Trustmark Park for their annual midweek Governor’s Cup baseball game.

The Rebels played the Bulldogs in a weekend series in Starkville – one in which Ole Miss lost two of three, including a walk-off loss in game three – earlier this season.

The Rebels, having swept their home doubleheader last Saturday, are fresh off of a series win over the Georgia Bulldogs, who dropped out of the national rankings after the series. This series at Swayze Field marked the Rebels’ first SEC series win in the month of April; Ole Miss lost its previous two conference series on the road at Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. After this weekend’s series win, the Rebels are ranked No. 6, nationally.

Mississippi State is coming off of a surprising sweep of top-five ranked Arkansas last weekend that shook up the national rankings. Before sweeping the Razorbacks in Starkville, the Bulldogs  lost two of three in a hard-fought series against the Auburn Tigers.

Ole Miss baseball players celebrate Star Wars Night on Saturday. The Rebels defeated Georgia 5-2, winning the series. Photo by Taylar Teel

Ole Miss will likely start Jordan Fowler on the mound Tuesday night. The freshman took over the Rebels’ midweek starting role after head coach Mike Bianco moved sophomore Houston Roth to the bullpen. Fowler has started in four games this season and has a 4-0 record with a 3.43 ERA.

The starting pitcher for Mississippi State will be Denver McQuary. The Bulldogs started the Houston, Mississippi, native in last week’s midweek loss to Memphis, but they have started multiple pitchers in midweek action this season. After last week’s loss, McQuary has a 1-2 record with a 4.88 ERA.

In its series loss in Starkville, Ole Miss struggled to put a stop to Bulldog center-fielder Jake Mangum. Mangum batted .533 on the weekend and went 5-for-5 in the series finale on Sunday. On the season, Mangum is batting .339 in the leadoff spot, which is the highest average on the team.

A key bat in the Rebels’ lineup in recent weeks has been freshman Tyler Keenan. Keenan is batting .323 and has earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors this season. Keenan had a key hit in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader against Georgia that stretched the Rebel lead to 5-1 in the fifth inning. The Bulldogs’ pitching staff will also have to handle the red-hot Ryan Olenek, who is batting an impressive .397 on the year and riding a 19-game hitting streak.

Ole Miss is currently No. 1 in the SEC West, and although the Rebels and Bulldogs are in the same conference and division, tonight’s game will not count in conference play. First pitch in the rivalry matchup is scheduled for 6 p.m.