Both Mississippi State and Ole Miss climbed in the polls coming off successful SEC series wins over the weekend.
The Rebels rose three spots to No. 16 following a home sweep of Auburn while the Diamond Dogs jumped ahead two positions to No. 4 after taking a series on the road at LSU.
Now the in-state rivals are set to take on each other in the annual Governor’s Cup game at 6:30 p.m. tonight from Trustmark Park in Pearl.
“Ole Miss had a great weekend and won on Sunday in an emotional type of way with a walk-off,” said MSU coach John Cohen. “They’re really playing well right now for sure. It’ll be a great challenge for us.”
State will be the designated home team for tonight’s contest, which will be televised on SEC Network. The game will not count towards the conference standings.
The Bulldogs got the better of the weekend battle against Ole Miss in Starkville earlier this month. State earned victories in the first two games 3-1 and 6-2 to take the series before the Rebels won the finale 8-5.
“You can’t worry about (playing Mississippi State) until it’s the next one and now it is the next one,” said Ole Miss junior catcher Henri Lartigue. “It’s a chance for us to get another ‘W’ and increase the resume which will give us a chance to play (at home) in the postseason.”
Junior right-hander Chad Smith (3-3, 4.99 ERA) is scheduled to make his ninth start of the season for Ole Miss. Smith suffered the loss against the Diamond Dogs on April 2 allowing four runs on five hits, one walk and one strikeout in 1 1/3 innings.
Mississippi State will counter with freshman righty Ryan Cyr, making his first career start. Cyr is 1-0 with a flawless ERA through nine outings. He has stuck out 10 and walked three in 12 innings of work.
“I’d love to be able to get through two or three innings with him, maybe even longer than that,” Cohen said. “He’s really been impressive the times he’s gone out there. He’s got great life on his fastball and it’s a survivable fastball.”
The Mayor’s Trophy/ Governor’s Cup series is nodded at 18 wins each.
The Bulldogs lead the overall series 246-205-5 against Ole Miss and is 5-4 all-time against the Rebels in the Governor’s Cup. Ole Miss claimed the Governor’s Cup with a dominant 11-1 victory behind 15 hits and seven shutout innings from Scott Weathersby.