Senior standout Jake Mangum will leave Mississippi State with a 4-0 mark in the Governor’s Cup series against rival Ole Miss.
The No. 8 Bulldogs beat the No. 19 Rebels 8-1 in Mangum’s hometown of Pearl in a game the team badly needed to win to get rid of the sour taste of being swept by Arkansas last week.
The Bulldogs have won eight of the 12 games in the series since it officially became the Governor’s Cup. With the win, Mississippi State improves to 33-9 on the season while Ole Miss drops to 27-15.
“I thought it was awesome,” MSU head coach Chris Lemonis said on the win. “First time for me to play in this park. Big crowd, nice park. The people here have been great. Our kids, they were ready to play. I give them a lot of credit. They know this is a big game for everybody, so it was exciting and fun.”
“It’s disappointing,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “We haven’t played well for a couple of weeks. Collectively. There’s times in games in a certain game. But consistently and collectively we haven’t played very well. The last two times on the field where the pressure got hot, we didn’t handle it. That’s not what you’re supposed to do when you’re a veteran club. So it’s been disappointing.”
With Rebel starter Zack Phillips carrying a no-hitter into the fifth inning Tuesday in Pearl, the standout center fielder sent a message to his squad.
“Jake brought us together as a team and just said, ‘Guys, we can’t wait for somebody to be the dude. Be the dude yourself,’” said sophomore Justin Foscue.
Sophomore Rowdey Jordan responded, belting his fourth home run of the season into the Ole Miss bullpen to tie the score at one.
Foscue put his team ahead to stay with a bases-loaded double to right field in the sixth. He brought two runners home, and State tacked on one more in the frame on a sacrifice fly from Dustin Skelton.
Foscue was chosen the Most Valuable Player of the game after his big double was a game-changer for the Bulldogs.
The offensive outburst not only led the Bulldogs to their fourth straight Governor’s Cup victory, but it gives them confidence heading into this weekend’s three-game series against No. 5 Georgia (33-8, 13-5 SEC).
The Bulldogs from Athens have the best team ERA in the SEC at 2.57.
Mississippi State can’t afford to go cold like it did against Arkansas against Georgia at Dudy Noble Field.
“To get eight runs, it shows that we’re a good offense and we can still do this whenever we can,” Foscue said.
Ole Miss junior Thomas Dillard, a Greenwood native, went 1-for-3 for the Rebels.