PEARL, Miss. – Despite keeping the bats in check for most of the night, it was free bases combined with timely hitting that did in the Rebels on Tuesday as No. 18 Ole Miss (23-10) fell to No. 16 Mississippi State (27-9) in the annual Governor’s Cup Game by a score of 5-1.
Junior left-hander Jeremy Massie (0-1) took the loss in relief for the Rebels, allowing two runs with a walk and a strikeout, but did not allow a hit in his 0.2 innings of work. The left-hander got the Rebels out of the fifth inning, but a walk and a hit batter to start the sixth inning proved to be the blow Ole Miss couldn’t overcome on the night.
The Bulldogs got two runs in the inning with one hit after the Rebels loaded the bases without giving up a hit. Mississippi State then got a two-RBI single to left field off reliever Brady Bramlett, who replaced Massie with two outs in the inning, to take the lead.
Ross Mitchell (6-0) picked up the relief win for the Bulldogs, working 6.0 scoreless innings with a walk and four strikeouts. He also held the Rebels to only two hits in his time on the mound.
“It was a tough one tonight, but you can’t walk that many guys and hit batters and expect to win a ballgame,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “That goes for all of our pitchers. We can’t do this and give up the walks and put ourselves in these positions. We have to get tougher and make the pitches and grind out the at bats and get the big hit when we have the opportunity to score some runs.”
Ole Miss got on the board in the second inning when Holt Perdzock delivered an RBI single to left center to bring Stuart Turner home from third. Turner opened the frame with a single up the middle and took second on a ground ball to third from Andrew Mistone. A single through the right side from Sikes Orvis put men at the corners for Perdzock, who drove the ball into the gap and sent Mississippi State to the bullpen for left-hander Ross Mitchell.
Mitchell would go on to load the bases with two outs on the board, but then got out of the inning with a ground ball to short. The Rebels led 1-0 after two innings of play.
Mississippi State got on the board in the fifth, tying the game on a two-out single to center from Alex Detz. Derrick Armstrong scored on the single. Armstrong reached on a lead-off single before taking second on a sac bunt. A wild pitch with two outs on the board moved him to third to set up the score on the Detz hit.
The Bulldogs would put another man on with a walk and send Ole Miss to the bullpen for left-hander Jeremy Massie. Massie then struck out the first batter faced to get the Rebels out of the inning and keep the game tied at one.
Armstrong’s single to open the inning broke up the no-hit bid by Laxer in the fifth.
Ole Miss looked to mount an answering rally in the bottom of the fifth, putting men at the corners with one out when Will Jamison was hit by a pitch and went to third on a single from Auston Bousfield. The Bulldogs escaped the inning, however, with a strikeout and a ground ball to second to keep the game knotted at one.
Mississippi State took the lead in the sixth after putting two men on to start the inning with a walk and a hit batter. A sac bunt moved both men into scoring position and the Rebels turned to the bullpen again, this time for Bramlett.
Bramlett struck out the first batter faced, but the second drew a walk to flip the batting order with two away and the bases loaded. Adam Frazier then snuck a single over the heads of the left side of the infield to drive in two runs and give Mississippi State the 3-1 lead.
The Bulldogs took the lead out to 4-1 in the seventh with a lead-off double from Hunter Renfroe and a single up the middle from Brett Pirtle. Ole Miss then turned to the bullpen again, looking to right-hander Chris Ellis to slow down the Mississippi State scoring.
A throwing error on a pickoff attempt moved Pirtle to second and a sac bunt took him to third. He then came home on a bloop hit over an infield that was playing in to make the score 5-1 before the Rebels would get out of the seventh.
Ole Miss was unable to mount an answering rally down the stretch as Mitchell gave way to closer Jonathan Holder, who closed out the final 1.2 innings for the Bulldogs.
The Rebels will return to action on Friday night, hosting Alabama in the first game of a three-game series over the weekend. First pitch on Friday is set for 6:30 p.m. as a part of the annual Grove Bowl weekend in Oxford. Saturday’s contest is set for a 4 p.m. start and will be televised by CSS, while Sunday’s series finale will begin at 1:30 p.m.
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