Bulldogs want to keep rolling against Rebels

MSU's Denver McQuary
Staff Writer

t was only a couple of weeks ago that Mississippi State’s baseball season seemed to be spiraling downhill before the Bulldogs pulled off a series win over instate rival and then-No. 3 Ole Miss to reignite hope.

Now two weeks later, MSU meets the Rebels again looking to keep up the momentum originally started in the two teams’ first encounter.

Mississippi State (22-19, 8-10) faces No. 6 Ole Miss (32-9, 10-8) Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in Pearl in the annual Governor’s Cup game. The matchup doesn’t count in the Southeastern Conference standings, but it does give the Bulldogs the opportunity to continue their late-season turnaround.

Before the first meeting with Ole Miss this season, MSU was just 15-15 overall and sat at 2-7 in SEC play. The Bulldogs have gone 7-4 since, including a 6-3 mark in league play. The resurgence received an exclamation point last weekend with Mississippi State’s three-game sweep over third-ranked Arkansas.

“(The sweep of Arkansas) gives us confidence, a shot of adrenaline and a shot of belief,” MSU interim head coach Gary Henderson said.

Suddenly, the postseason hopes that seemed on life support for the Bulldogs not long ago, are alive and well. MSU's RPI has risen to No. 46 according to D1Baseball.com. State can climb even higher with a win tonight over the Rebels.

Not long ago, it was looking like Mississippi State might only be playing for pride at this point of the season. The three wins over Arkansas over the weekend has changed the Bulldogs’ outlook on things altogether.

MSU’s confidence is building and it now has some solid proof of what was believed internally all along – that it can be a good baseball team.

“Everything showed (against Arkansas),” State outfielder Elijah MacNamee said. “Pitching, defense and offense was awesome.”

There is perhaps no better setting for the Bulldogs to try and continue their recent winning ways than tonight’s venue of Trustmark Park. MSU has won its last two Governor’s Cup meetings against Ole Miss in Pearl.

A third-straight win in the series would serve as even more reinforcement that the 2018 baseball season for the Bulldogs is far from a lost cause.

“Baseball is a funny sport,” MSU outfielder Jake Mangum said last week. “There is a lot of baseball left and I really like where our team is.”

Denver McQuary (1-2, 4.88 ERA) will get his second-straight start for the Bulldogs in the Governor's Cup matchup, while the Rebels will start Jordan Fowler (4-0, 4.88 ERA).