Ole Miss and Mississippi State met Tuesday night for the 39th installment of the Governor’s Cup at Trustmark Park in Pearl. The two teams played a track meet in which the Bulldogs came out on top 7-6 for their third straight Governor’s Cup win. The Rebels finish the regular season with a disappointing 1-3 record against Mississippi State.
The Rebels were up 6-5 after some clutch batting from Chase Cockrell and Michael Fitzsimmons, whose combined effort gave Ole Miss the lead in the top of the ninth. The Rebels were three outs away from victory until Luke Alexander, previously 0-4 at the plate, won it for the Bulldogs again with a walk-off two-RBI double.
Ole Miss got on the board first, when Tim Rowe doubled in the third and brought Chase Cockrell home. Rowe had a very efficient outing, going 3-3 at the plate.
Mississippi State responded quickly and took its first lead in the bottom of the third after Jake Mangum smacked a two-run RBI down the third base line.
Thomas Dillard, sporting an amazing mustache, homered for the ninth time this season to retake the Rebels’ lead 3-2 in the fourth. His nine homers lead the team on the season, and Cole Zabowski and Nick Fortes are right behind him, with seven apiece.
The Bulldogs tied it 3-3 in the fourth, but that wouldn’t last. Jacob Adams would give the lead back to his team in the fifth with a sac fly, his only RBI of the night.
In the seventh and eighth innings, Mississippi State would once again retake the lead for what appeared to be the last time. However, in the ninth Chase Cockrell came to the plate for the Rebels with one out, a runner in scoring position and the game on the line.
He doubled off the wall, which allowed Will Golsan to score and tie the game. Michael Fitzsimmons, pinch hitting for Michael Spears, walked up and calmly smashed his own double on the second pitch he saw, giving Ole Miss a 6-5 lead.
Unfortunately, Mississippi State’s Luke Alexander wasn’t content with losing.
The Bulldogs had runners on first and second when Alexander doubled on his first hit of the game. The hit scored two, and just like that, the game was over.
Ole Miss has nothing to be ashamed of. It played well against a good Mississippi State team whose record doesn’t reflect its collective talent and ability. Two of Ole Miss’ losses to Mississippi State have come on walk-off hits in the ninth inning. Sometimes, that’s just how baseball goes.
Although the Rebels lost against an SEC West team Tuesday night, the game didn’t count towards conference play, so Ole Miss remains at No. 1 in the conference.
This weekend’s series with LSU gives the Rebels an opportunity to bounce back after Tuesday’s loss by defeating a quality opponent.