Bulldogs Roll Past Rebels 6-1 To Take Governor's Cup
Graveman (4-0), a sophomore-right hander threw four innings of shutout, three-hit baseball to earn the win. The Bulldogs scored twice in the first inning and were never headed in the contest, despite three errors and seven stranded base runners.
With the victory, the Bulldogs improved to 23-14, while the Rebels fell to 23-15. MSU won the Governor's Cup for the first time in three seasons and third time in five meetings overall. The Bulldogs improved to 7-5 at Trustmark Park, sweeping this year's two-game set, with Tuesday night's win coming 14 days after a 5-4 triumph over Southern Mississippi.
Defensive problems also plagued Ole Miss, as it made three errors as well. Ole Miss had miscues in three of MSU's four run-scoring innings.
"Ole Miss helped us a bit, but we took advantage of it," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "It was a sloppy game but we had some quality at-bats and found a way to win."
C.T. Bradford started the contest with a leadoff single. After a sacrifice bunt by Nick Vickerson, Jarrod Parks followed with a single through the left side of the infield. Again, the Bulldogs sacrificed with Cody Freeman's bunt being thrown away by UM starting pitcher Matt Tracy. A groundout by Wes Thigpen scored the other run and placed the Maroon and White on top, 2-0.
The early offense would be enough for Graveman, who threw only 33 pitches and faced 14 batters in four innings of work. Graveman allowed three hits and no runs, with one walk and no strikeouts.
"We went with Graveman because he's a sinker pitcher," Cohen said. "He got enough groundballs to keep us going and threw a lot of strikes."
The Bulldogs scored again with a lone run in the fifth inning and tacked on two more insurance scores in the seventh inning.
In the fifth inning, Parks drew a two-out walk. A misplay in the outfield followed, allowing Parks to score. In the seventh inning, Bradford started things with a one-out single. Vickerson drew a walk. A double steal advanced the runners. RBI-singles by Freeman and Wes Thigpen extended the advantage to 6-0.
"We did a good job of putting pressure on the defense tonight," said Freeman. "We put the ball in play and made things happen. We had some good at-bats with runners on base. We tried to make them make plays defensively."
The Bulldogs almost completed their first shutout in the 32-games history of the Mayor's Trophy Game/Governor's Cup. However, the Rebels finally tallied in the eighth inning.
Austin Anderson tripled to the right field corner to start that at-bat. A follow-up groundball out by Taylor Hightower produced the score. The rally was short-lived as Stark retired the side in order in the UM ninth inning.
The Bulldogs finished with nine hits. Bradford, Parks and Thigpen each had multiple hits. For Parks, it was his team-best 17th multi-hit game and also the 30th time this season the MSU third baseman has hit safely. Parks was also named the game's Most Valuable Player.
The Rebels finished with six hits. Alex Yarbrough had two hits.
Tracy (3-3) was lifted with one out in the seventh inning and took the loss. The UM left-hander allowed seven hits and five runs (three earned), with six strikeouts and two walks.
Southeastern Conference play resumes this weekend when MSU hosts defending national champion and second ranked South Carolina. The Bulldogs and Gamecocks meet at 7 p.m. Friday (ESPNU national telecast), 6 p.m. Saturday (Fox Sports Net South regional telecast) and 1:30 p.m. Sunday (no live television).