PEARL – Mississippi State failed to convert early opportunities, as the Bulldogs dropped an 8-1 decision to in-state rival Ole Miss in the third Governor’s Cup baseball game played Tuesday night at Trustmark Park.
A crowd of 7,452 watched the annual in-state get-together played at the minor-league park of the Mississippi Braves, a Class AA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. The crowd was the fifth-largest in the four-year-old ballpark‘s history. MSU lost for the first time in three Governor’s cup matchups. The Bulldogs also go winless at Trustmark Park this year, after winning the first five games they played there.
MSU falls to 19-18 with the defeat, while 16th-ranked Ole Miss improves to 26-10. The game does not count in the Southeastern Conference standings.
Ole Miss opened the scoring with a lone run in the first inning. MSU starting pitcher Ricky Bowen issued a pair of walks to open the game. After a line-drive double play, the Rebels scored on an RBI-single from Matt Smith.
MSU answered in its half of the second inning. Scott DeLoach began the inning with a triple to right field. A ground ball out by Jet Butler scored DeLoach. After another out, Nick Hardy flirted with a home run, instead settling for a double on a hard hit ball off the l eft field wall. Hardy was stranded at second base.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Rebels took the lead for good. Zach Miller reached as a hit batsman. Michael Hubbard then chased Bowen (2-2) with a controversial double off the base of the out field wall in the left field corner, giving the Rebels a 2-1 lead.
In relief Chad Crosswhite worked the Bulldogs out of the second inning and retired the side in order in the third inning. Things then unraveled in the fourth inning.
The Rebels struck for two scores in the fourth inning and three more scores in the fifth inning, essentially putting the contest out of reach.
In the fourth inning, UM received back-to-back one-out singles from Miller, Hubbard and Kevin Mort. Mort brought home both runs in the inning with his base hit.
In the fifth inning, Logan Power started things for the Rebels with a leadoff double. Matt Snyder followed with an RBI-single scoring Power. After back-to-back outs, Miller reached as a hit batsman. Hubbard and Mort again followed with back-to-back RBI-singles.
Drew Hollinghead followed Crosswhite to the mound in the sixth inning. Hollinghead faced four batters, allowing a leadoff single to Jordan Henry and then issuing back-to-back one-out walks. Lee Swindle then worked the Bulldogs out of that tight spot, allowing only one run to score on a single by David Phillips.
The Bulldogs managed eight hits .. Nick Hardy had his second three-hit game of the season, while Scott DeLoach also had multiple hits. Ryan Powers had a single to extend his hit streak to 14 straight games, while Connor Powers had a single to extend his hit streak to nine games.
The Rebels finished with 12 hits. Hubbard had three hits, while Mort and Henry each had added two hits.
Brett Bukvich (5-1) threw the first six innings to pick up the win. Bukvich allowed five hits and one run (earned), with a career-best 11 strikeouts and no walks. Rory McKean threw two innings of three-hit relief for the Rebels, while David Goforth threw the ninth inning.