PEARL, Miss. (WCBI/MSU Athletics) – Behind the dominant pitching of Lucas Laster and Vance Tatum, the Mississippi State baseball team rallied past Ole Miss to win the Governor’s Cup 8-3 Tuesday night at Trustmark Park.
Playing before a stadium record crowd of 8,496, the cowbells rang loudly as MSU erased a 3-2 deficit with three runs in the sixth inning, two runs in the seventh inning and another score in the eighth inning.
“I think the story of the game was Wes Rea,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “He gets the error at first and things haven’t been going Wes’ way. All of a sudden, he makes two scoop plays and got two huge hits in the ballgame for us. The true mark of a senior is what happens after a mistake and he came to me and said ‘Coach, I’m going to block that thing up, don’t worry. I’m going to help us win this game’ and that’s exactly what he ended up doing.”
In his first career start, Laster allowed two hits and three runs (one earned) in 5.1 innings of work. Vance Tatum (2-0) entered in relief. While Tatum did allow a sacrifice fly giving the Rebels a 3-2 lead, he quickly breezed from there, allowing one hit in 3.2 innings of work.
“Obviously, I’m proud of Lucas,” Cohen said. “Really for the last month Butch (Thompson) has been pushing Lucas, saying we’ve got to get him out there because he’s getting better and better and better. Outside of that one inning, I was really proud of how we played.”
Winners of five straight, the Bulldogs began their rally in the sixth inning when Gavin Collins collected one of his three hits. Collins hit came after Brett Pirtle walked. A ground ball out by C.T. Bradford brought home the game-tying run. After a single by Demarcus Henderson, Wes Rea delivered the big blow with a two-run single down the left field line.
In the seventh inning, the Maroon and White loaded the bases when Cody Brown walked, Pirtle reached as a hit batsman and Collins singled. A ground ball out by Bradford brought home one run, while an RBI-single by Alex Detz plated the other.
An RBI-single by Pirtle capped the scoring in the eighth inning.
For the contest, MSU finished with 11 hits. Collins matched a career high with his three hits, while Pirtle and Rea each had multiple hits.
Ole Miss was held to three hits. The Rebels used seven pitchers, with reliever Preston Tarkington (0-1) took the loss in 0.1 innings of work.
“It really was a team win,” Cohen said. “I think since last Monday our kids have really come together and I hope we can stay on a roll here.”
MSU returns to Dudy Noble Field for a Southeastern Conference series with Texas A&M this weekend. The Bulldogs and Aggies meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (ESPNU), 6:30 p.m. Friday and 2:15 p.m. Saturday (FSN South).