By The Associated Press
PEARL — Ole Miss was in a generous mood. Mississippi State certainly wasn’t complaining.
Kendall Graveman pitched four scoreless innings to lead Mississippi State to a 6-1 victory over Ole Miss in the Governor’s Cup at Trustmark Park. The Bulldogs were helped by three critical Ole Miss errors.
“Ole Miss helped us out a little, but you know we took advantage of it and that’s important,” Mississippi State coach John Cohen said. “It was a sloppy game. Our kids hung in there. I thought we pitched it pretty good.”
Graveman (4-0) earned the win for the Bulldogs, which was their first in the annual rivalry game since 2008. He scattered three hits and one walk.
Mississippi State (23-14) jumped out early with two runs in the first inning, helped by a fielding error by Ole Miss starting pitcher Matt Tracy that allowed C.T. Bradford to score from third. Wes Thigpen then drove in Jarrod Parks on a groundout.
“I think we just put pressure on them,” MSU senior Cody Freeman said. “Even if they were cheap hits — just putting pressure on the defense and not striking out. Making them make the plays.”
The Bulldogs scored another run in the fifth inning after Matt Smith dropped a routine fly ball and added two more in the seventh to take a 6-0 lead. The Rebels (23-15) scored their only run in the eighth.
Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said the fielding woes have been a recent trend.
“We just shoot ourselves in the foot too many times,” Bianco said. “We make errors at the wrong time, and really dumb errors. I don’t know if it’s a lack of focus or what but it’s disappointing … I think after we missed that fly ball it kind of knocked the wind out of our sails and we didn’t have a lot of good at-bats after that.”
Mississippi State also made three errors, but was able to overcome them. Chad Girodo pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief, giving up one run. Taylor Stark pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 to close the game.
Jarrod Parks, C.T. Bradford and Wes Thigpen all had two hits for the Bulldogs in front of an announced crowd of 7,334 — which was the third largest in Governor’s Cup history.
Matt Tracy (3-3) took the loss, giving up five runs in 6 1/3 innings. Alex Yarbrough had two hits.