PEARL, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics/Ole Miss Athletics) - A two-run double by Luke Alexander in the bottom of the ninth inning allowed Mississippi State to knock off No. 5 Ole Miss 7-6 in the annual Governor’s Cup battle played before a crowd of 8,515 at Trustmark Park.
MSU erased a deficit on four occasions during the contest, including a 4-3 deficit in the seventh inning before trailing 6-5 in the ninth inning.
MSU secured the Governor’s Cup for a third straight season. Dating back to the 2016 MSU-Ole Miss late-season game in Pearl, the Bulldogs have won eight of the last nine games in the overall series.
MSU improved to 23-19 with its fourth straight win, while Ole Miss fell to 32-10 and suffered its first midweek loss of the season. The contest does not count in the Southeastern Conference standings.
Ole Miss claimed the lead in the third when Tim Rowe roped an RBI double immediately after a leadoff single by Chase Cockrell.
In the third inning, MSU grabbed a 2-1 lead. Marshall Gilbert started things with a one-out double. Rowdey Jordan followed with a double. Jake Mangum then drove home both runs with a double down the left field line.
Ole Miss took a 3-2 lead in the fourth, when Thomas Dillard crushed a home run off the restaurant in right field at Trustmark Park, netting the Rebels two runs after a leadoff walk by Nick Fortes.
The Bulldogs pulled even in the home half of the fourth inning on an RBI ground-rule double by Elijah MacNamee.
Ole Miss then again reclaimed the lead in the fifth inning. After a leadoff single, Rowe advanced to third on a pair of MSU miscues, and Jacob Adams delivered the go-ahead sacrifice fly to center, giving the Rebels a 4-3 lead.
The Rebels held that advantage until Gilbert tied things with a one-out home run down the left field line.
In the eighth inning, Tanner Allen started things with a triple for the Bulldogs. After a groundout, Jordan Westburg flew out to the left field warning track for a go-ahead sacrifice fly.
Senior captain Will Golsan started the Ole Miss rally with a walk and scored shortly thereafter and a monster double off the left field wall by Cockrell. Michael Fitzsimmons then came through with a pinch-hit run-scoring double of his own to give Ole Miss a one-run lead.
After winning pitcher Cole Gordon (3-2) got the only batter he faced to get his team back in the dugout, the Bulldogs again put the rally caps on against the Rebels.
Gilbert singled and took second base on a sacrifice bunt by Jordan. After an intentional walk to Mangum, Alexander – who earlier in the season hit a walk-off home run against Ole Miss – followed that up with a double to the right center gap to bring home the game-tying and game-winning runs.
For MSU, Gilbert finished with three of his team’s nine hits.
Ole Miss finished with 10 hits. Rowe had three hits and Cockrell had two hits for the Rebels. Parker Caracci (2-2) took the loss.
The Rebels return to action on Thursday for a critical three-game set with LSU. First pitch for Game 1 is slated for 7 p.m. CT from Swayze Field and will be nationally broadcast on SEC Network.
State will be back at Dudy Noble Field this weekend to continue Southeastern Conference play with a three-game series against No. 18 Texas A&M. The series will commence Friday with a 6:30 p.m. start on SEC Network+.
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