No. 6 Ole Miss blows late lead in Governor’s Cup loss to Mississippi State

Published 10:17 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ole Miss’ struggles continued against its in-state rival Tuesday.

Luke Alexander’s two-run double gave the Bulldogs a 7-6 walk-off win in the teams’ annual Governor’s Cup at Trustmark Park in Pearl. The win was Mississippi State’s third straight Governor’s Cup victory and its eighth in the teams’ last nine meetings dating back to 2016.

Ole Miss (32-10) got back-to-back RBI doubles from Chase Cockrell and pinch-hitter Michael Fitzsimmons in the top half of the frame to take a one-run lead, but the bullpen couldn’t hold it. Marshall Gilbert’s leadoff single and an intentional walk of Jake Mangum put two on for Alexander, who was hitless before sending Parker Caracci’s 1-1 offering to the gap in right-center to plate both runners for his second straight game-winning against Ole Miss (walk-off homer to give MSU a series win over Ole Miss on April 8).

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The Rebels’ bullpen logged five innings in relief of Jordan Fowler, who allowed three runs on five hits while striking out two in his second straight midweek start before exiting after giving up Elijah MacNamee’s one-out double in the fourth that tied it at 3. Jacob Adams’ sacrifice fly put Ole Miss back on top in the fifth, but Gilbert took Greer Holston deep to draw MSU (23-19) even again in the seventh for the only hit the right-hander allowed in his 3 ⅓ innings of work.

Will Stokes allowed a run on one hit in 1 ⅓ innings before the Rebels rallied and turned things over to Caracci (2-2), who’s allowed multiple baserunners in 11 of his last 13 outings.

Outfielder Tim Rowe finished 3-for-3 with an RBI double in his first start since March 18. The senior filled in for Ryan Olenek, whose 19-game hitting streak was put on hold after being held out of the lineup as a precautionary measure after jamming his shoulder during Saturday’s doubleheader against Georgia, according to a team spokesperson.

Thomas Dillard hit his team-leading ninth home run and drove in two runs while Cockrell went 2-for-4 and scored twice.

Ole Miss will return to games that count toward the SEC standings Thursday with its series opener against LSU. First pitch from Oxford-University Stadium is set for 7 p.m.