Rebels and Bulldogs set to battle for Governor’s cup

Posted on Apr 23 2019 - 5:01am by Joshua Clayton

The Ole Miss baseball team will continue its late-season gauntlet with a midweek game against Mississippi State at Trustmark Park in Pearl, the winner of which will claim bragging rights and the Governor’s Cup.

The annual midweek matchup began in 1980 when it was known as the Mayor’s Trophy. Ole Miss had the slight advantage with 14 Mayor’s Trophy wins to Mississippi State’s 13. The most anticipated game in Mississippi baseball moved from Jackson to Pearl and was renamed the Governor’s Cup in 2007. The Bulldogs have won the Governor’s Cup each of the last three years and dominate the series with eight wins to Ole Miss’s four.

Ole Miss outfielder Tim Elko steals second base during the Rebels’ matchup against UT Martin earlier this season. Ole Miss won the game 12-6. File photo by Christian Johnson

Each year, the Governor’s Cup is counted as a non-conference game for both teams.

The Rebels are in a tough spot going into the final stretch of the season with 9 of their last 15 games of the regular season against top-25 teams. The team is tied with the Bulldogs and the Auburn Tigers for fourth place in the SEC West with a 27-14 overall record and a 10-8 mark in the conference.

Ole Miss has had some disappointments in the SEC since sweeping Arkansas in Fayetteville and Florida at Swayze Field. The Rebels lost two games to Kentucky, who are 4-14 in the league, and two in Auburn last weekend as well. Heroics from Grae Kessinger, Cooper Johnson and Parker Caracci have not been enough to stay afloat as the Rebels’ hopes of hosting a regional have started to quickly drift away.

Junior LHP Zack Phillips is expected to start on the mound for the Rebels on Tuesday. The Texarkana native is 4-1 this season with a 4.58 ERA. The Rebels have won the last two games he’s started including last week’s Memphis game, where he struck out six batters in 6.0 innings to get the win.

The No. 9 Bulldogs are 32-9 overall this season and 10-8 in the conference. They hold series wins over Florida, Auburn, Tennessee and Alabama. However, the Bulldogs were swept by Arkansas in Fayetteville in a series that included ugly 12-5 and 10-2 losses during Easter weekend.

Following the Governor’s Cup, The Rebels will take on Texas A&M on Double Decker weekend in Oxford. They’ll then head to Baton Rouge for a series against LSU before returning home for three more games against Mississippi. The final SEC series of the regular season is in Knoxville against the Tennessee Volunteers.

The SEC Tournament will be held in Hoover, Alabama from May 21-26.

The first pitch of the annual Governor’s Cup is set for 6 p.m.