Goforth shines as Rebels knock off MSU

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 31, 2010

PEARL — If Tuesday’s Governor’s Cup game was an audition for a Sunday starter for Ole Miss, two candidates rose to the top of the heap.

David Goforth, who came into his first career start with an 8.13 ERA, picked up the victory, and Matt Tracy earned his first career save with three straight strikeouts as Ole Miss defeated Mississippi State 5-3 at Trustmark Park.

Goforth was happy with the results.

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“I really think my command with all three pitches, even the changeup, I was able to locate with that,” Goforth said. “I left a few of them up, but for the most part, I was able to locate the changeup and the slider was really good tonight.”

Tracy took the hill in the ninth with one on after reliever Brett Huber gave up a single. Tracy struck out the final three Bulldogs he faced with clockwork precision to end the contest.

State’s pitching was a rough patchwork, with five arms seeing duty. Freshman starter C.C. Watson lasted just 21⁄3 innings in his first start, giving up four hits and three runs, two of them earned.

The big inning for the Rebels was the second, when they put three runs on the board against Watson. Catcher Taylor Hightower singled in the first run and another scored on Kevin Mort’s single when Luke Adkins’ throw home was mishandled by catcher Cody Freeman. Tim Ferguson’s sacrifice fly made it 3-0.

“We pitched OK,” MSU coach John Cohen said. “That second inning, Watts (Watson) is a guy that goes 88-90 and he was 80, 82, so I have no idea what was going on with that.”

The Rebels (20-6) scratched across another run in the fifth on Matt Smith’s sacrifice fly.

The key was the work of Goforth, who for 52⁄3 innings held the Bulldogs to two hits. State’s Connor Powers finally ended the dominance in the sixth by launching a fastball into the home bullpen for a two-run homer, cutting it to 4-2 and ending Goforth’s outing. It was the first home run in the four-year history of the Governor’s Cup at Trustmark and the seventh home run yielded by Goforth this season.

The Rebels added another run in the seventh as Smith scored off a misplayed ball by Sam Frost, who couldn’t handle a double-play dribbler. But again, the Rebels were unable to land the knockout blow with runners in scoring position. They stranded 10 baserunners.

“It was a little bit of a different game for us offensively,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “It was the first time in a while that we’ve left runners, especially in scoring position. That’s our forte, getting the timely hits, but tonight, we weren’t able to get them in.”

The Bulldogs (14-11) threatened in the bottom of the seventh, but left runners at second and third.

They did get a run back in the eighth on an RBI groundout by Ryan Collins, but Freeman struck out to end the inning. Mississippi State left five runners on base, four of them in scoring position, in the seventh and eighth innings.


Contact Steve Wilson at swilson@vicksburgpost.com