Last Saturday night there was weeping and gnashing of teeth over the Bulldogs collapse against arch rival Ole Miss. The offense didn't show up in game one and the defense and Kendall Graveman had uncharacteristic mistakes in game two as the Bulldogs lost the series all in six hours or so without even facing the Rebels' ace, Bobby Wahl.
That is when I said something big was about to happen. I was as upset as every other State fan out there but I knew that this was not going to sit well with the players and especially with John Cohen. Through the first five innings Sunday I was ready to change my mind. Then it clicked. The Bulldogs stormed back and took game three of the series putting most of the Bulldog fanbase back at ease. They then knew that winning the series against South Carolina would almost secure a regional in Starkville for the first time in 10 years.
Thursday night the Bulldogs came out of the gate sluggish and trailed 4-1 in the ball game going to the night. It was about to be a terrible start to the weekend. Wes Rea sent a bomb into the left field lounge to cut it to two but it still felt almost imminent that State was done. Tyler Webb, the SEC's leader in saves, was coming out of the bullpen. It's over. 0% chance. He promptly gave up a hit off his third baseman's glove to C.T. Bradford. Demarcus Henderson laid down the most absolutely perfect bunt I have ever laid eyes on and beat the ball down the first base line. Eventually State would take the 5-4 lead into the ninth and Johnny Holder saved the ball game. It would give State the upper hand going into the final two days.
State squandered a lead in game two Friday and an extra-innings two-run blast off of Daryl Norris' first pitch would do them end forcing a rubber game for MSU's hosting chances and the five seed in the tourney. State blew it open in the latter part of the game and, in most Bulldog fan's mind, locked up a hosting spot.
It was MSU's 40th win of the year, something that has not been done in a regular season since the Bulldogs won 42 in 1997. It was the 19th 40-win season in school history and second-straight for John Cohen. What MSU did at home was even more remarkable, however. State finished the year 30-7, only the fourth 30-win home season ever and first since 1989 when they went 31-4.
I will have the top 25 for the Bulldogs tomorrow when they are released.
|Publication||This Week||Last Week|
Now to stats. Hunter Renfroe is in a serious slump. Good news for State, the rest of the lineup is starting to find their swing. Something tells me this won't take long before he's right back to normal.
Batting Average: 6th - Hunter Renfroe (.362); 14th- Adam Frazier (.338)
Hits: 4th - Frazier (79); T-10th- Renfroe (68); 12th- C.T. Bradford (67)
Slugging %: 1st - Renfroe (.691)
On Base %: 4th- Renfroe (.459); 6th- Alex Detz (.451); 13th- Brett Pirtle- (.426)
Runs Scored: T-4th--Renfroe (48)
RBI: 4th - Renfore (51)
Doubles: T-3rd Frazier (15); T-1`th- Renfroe (13)
Triples: T-2nd - Frazier (6)
Home Runs: 1st - Renfroe (15)
Total Bases: 3rd- Renfroe (130); 9th- Frazier (106)
Walks: 2nd - Alex Detz (46); T-8th- Renfroe (33)
Hit by Pitch: T-3rd-Brett Pirtle (17)
At Bats: 2nd- Frazier (234); 11th-Bradford (215)
Batting Average: 3rd (.295)
Hits: 3rd (555)
Slugging %: 4th (.397)
On Base %: 3rd (.391)
Runs Scored: 3rd (342)
RBI: 3rd (304)
Doubles: T-5th (84)
Triples: T-5th (12)
Home Runs: 7th (28)
Total Bases: 4th (747)
At Bats: 4th (1882)
Walks: 2nd (248)
Hit by Pitch: 4th (66)
Stolen Bases: T-6th (51)
Team/Individual Defense and Pitching
Earned Run Average: 4th (2.73) Leaders: Ross Mitchell- 1st- (1.28)
Opposing Batting Average: 3rd (.221) Leaders: R. Mitchell-7th (.212)
Innings Pitched: 5th (501.1) Leader: Graveman- 9th (87.0)
Strikeouts: 1st (457) Leader: Jonathan Holder- 12th (73)
Wins: 3rd (40) Leaders: R. Mitchell- 2nd (10)
Saves: T-6th (17) Leader: Jonathan Holder- 2nd- (15)
Appearances: Leader: Chad Girodo- T-3rd (29); Mitchell and Holder- T-12th (26)
(Least Amount) Hits: 3rd (400) Leaders: R. Mitchell- 5th- (54)
(Least Amount) Earned Runs: 4th (152) Leader: R. Mitchell- 1st- (10)
(Least Amount) Doubles: 2nd (53); Leader: R. Mitchell- T-13th (9)
(Least Amount) Triples: T-3rd (5) Leaders: R. Mitchell and Pollorena -T-1st (0)
(Least Amount) Home Runs: T-4th (19) Leaders: R. Mitchell and Pollorena- T-6th (2)
(Least Amount) Intentional Walks: 1st (3)
Fielding %: 6th (.975) Leader: Jacob Robson- T-1st (1.000)
Chances: 2nd (2231) Leader: Wes Rea- 15th (377)
Putouts: 5th (1504) Leader: Rea- 12th (356)
Assists: 1st (672) Leader: Frazier-1st (196); Pirtle- 13th (142)
Double Plays: 2nd (63) Leaders: Frazier-2nd (51); Pirtle-10th (38); Rea- 11th (36)
The Bulldogs now defend their title in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala. Last season they were pretty much out of regional hosting so winning wouldn't hurt. They ran the table and won five games in six days, one of the best runs in tournament history. This season is slightly different. I think State will be content with bowing out of the tournament. That's not to say they want to try and lose, but having a few extra days to rest for the regional will probably be best.
State will start the tournament Tuesday playing the final game of day one against the 12-seed Missouri. I believe winning the Tuesday night game seals up MSU's hosting chances. Going 2-2 in the tournament would be reasonable enough for most fans. We shall see how it all plays out.