/The Rebel killer does it again

The Rebel killer does it again

Bianco stated, “(Jake Mangum) has beaten us enough over years.” “Somebody else was going have to do this tonight.” Someone else did. Luke Alexander’s double to the right field scored the winning run and the tie run in Mississippi State’s 7-6 win over Ole Miss. This was in front of 8,515 people at Trustmark Park in the annual Governor’s Cup game. Guess who scored the winning run? It was Jake Mangum. This was the scene: The ninth inning. Ole Miss leads 6-5. Parker Caracci, Rebel closer, on the mound. One out. Second runner. Mangum, the Rebel killer, who has been Ole Miss’s owner for three seasons, comes to the plate. Conventional baseball wisdom states that you should never intentionally place the winning run on base. Conventional is better than conventional. Bianco tried traditional against Mangum. It didn’t work. Bianco signaled to Mangum for an intentional pass. Alexander hit Caracci’s fastball over the plate and into the gap in the right centerfield. Mangum scored quickly with sprinter’s speed and fist-pumped several times in front the third base dugout as well as the cheering State fans. This is not to second-guess Bianco. I would have walked Mangum too. Mangum has scored 14 runs, hit safely 22 times and has been a part of 12 games against the Rebels in his career. Mangum has scored six runs and hit one double against the Rebels. He also has more circus catches that a juggler. Bianco stated that Mangum is a great player and has always been. However, he takes it to the next level against us. Mangum’s double that scored two runs in the third inning gave Bulldogs a 2-1 lead. He made two spectacular diving and running catches defensively. He did all this in his hometown, not far from Shiloh Park, where his dad, ex-Alabama and Chicago Bears star football player John Mangum used to hit him with fly balls for hours in the summer heat. Jake Mangum stated, “That what you saw tonight was all John Mangum. That wasn’t me.” “There were many times when he kept hitting fly balls that I wanted not to hit, but he kept hitting them and catching them.” The unranked Bulldogs gained a 3-1 lead in the series. If there is no complete collapse, Ole Miss, which is now ranked 32-10, will be playing in the post-season. Most likely, they will host an NCAA Regional. If the Rebels are strong in the final month, they may even be a national seed. State, on the other hand, was a team that looked like it was made of burnt toast three weeks ago. That was before the Bulldogs, much improved under interim coach Gary Henderson. They won two of three games from Ole Miss and one from Auburn. Then they swept No. 3 ranked Arkansas last weekend. The Bulldogs’ batting average and RPI rating have risen by about 30 points over the past month. The Bulldogs climbed 11 places to No. 1 with their Tuesday night win. 35 in the WarrenNolan.com ratings, which closely match the NCAA’s power formula. It is no surprise that a team that started in the SEC at 2-7 is now at 8-10. They finished 14-16 in total. They are now at 23-19. Do they have the potential to win an NCAA bid? “We gotta keep playing well,” Henderson said. “But we’ve placed ourselves in position to have chances if we improve and continue playing well.” Henderson also said that he understood Bianco’s reasoning for walking Mangum. Henderson stated, “It’s not common, but I can definitely see what he was thinking.” “Jake is an elite hitter, and he has a past with them,” Henderson said. Tuesday night was just one chapter._x000D