I must confess, I had no intentions of this post carrying us all the way through the last week of the College Baseball season but here we are State fans. The moment has finally arrived. All of those years that we have set through (most more than the 24 that I have endured) can be rectified with two wins in three days. The time has come where we as State fans might finally be able to stick out our chest and call ourselves "Nationally Relevant".
Sure we've been very relevant in the course of Collegiate Baseball over the historic 100+ years that it has been played here. Ron Polk made the program a National name. But never has this program, or any other for that matter, played for a National Title much less win one.
The great names and the pings of their bats echo through the hallowed Dudy Noble Field grounds. None have been lucky enough to call themselves 'The Best". Yet this group of misfits with their beards, unbuttoned jerseys, dugout shenanigans and unique personalities, have the opportunity to make history. This history goes far beyond DNF. This translates across the athletic department at MSU. This translates across the campus and into the streets of Starkville. This translates for the entire state of the state of Mississippi. This. is. BIG.
The possibilities of bringing a National Championship to Starkville is beyond my and everyone elses thinking at this point. The recruiting selling points helps the baseball program, yes, but MSU Baseball is a sell in itself. What this does is shows that you can win and win big in the state of Mississippi and most importantly, in little Starkville, Miss., at Mississippi State University.
So no pressure, Diamond Dawgs. You only have well over half of the state of Mississippi counting on you. But, at this point, there has never been a time in my life that I have been prouder of this University and this state. And I've never loved a team more than this. God Bless you, John Cohen and the Bench Mobb. You've done it already. All you have to do now is finish what you started.
Now... Enough of that. Let's get into the final stats before the big game later on tonight. I'm in Omaha at this point and my stomach is in knots so hopefully we'll finish the deal here.
P.S. Thank you SEC for finally updating stats. You are gentlemen and scholars.
Batting Average: 7th- Adam Frazier (.358); 8th - Hunter Renfroe (.355)
Hits: 1st (1st in NCAA)- Frazier (106); 5th (T-26th in NCAA) - Renfroe (88); T-14th- Alex Detz (74)
Slugging %: 2nd (25th in NCAA) - Renfroe (.637); 13th- Wes Rea (.474); 14th- Frazier (.473)
On Base %: 4th- Detz (.454); 9th- Renfroe (.439)
Runs Scored: 2nd-Frazier (T-22nd in NCAA) (62); 5th-Renfroe (56)
RBI: 3rd (T-18th in NCAA)- Renfore (65)
Doubles: 1st- Frazier (T-36th in NCAA) (20); T-9th- Renfroe (16)
Triples: T-1st (T-6th in NCAA) - Frazier (7)
Home Runs: T-1st (T-9th in NCAA) - Renfroe (16); T-7th- Wes Rea (7)
Total Bases: 1st (7th in NCAA)- Renfroe (158); 4th (T-30th in NCAA)- Frazier (140)
Walks: 2nd (T-9th in NCAA) -Alex Detz (53); T-11th- Renfroe (35)
Hit by Pitch: 3rd (T-22nd in NCAA)-Brett Pirtle (20)
At Bats: 1st- Frazier (296); 5th-C.T. Bradford (255); 7th- Renfroe (248)
Batting Average: 3rd (.297)
Hits: 2nd (5th in NCAA) (702)
Slugging %: 4th (.391)
On Base %: 3rd (34th in NCAA) (.386)
Runs Scored: 3rd (25th in NCAA) (413)
RBI: 3rd (369)
Doubles: 3rd (104)
Triples: 4th (15)
Home Runs: 7th (30)
Total Bases: 3rd (926)
At Bats: 1st (2367)
Walks: 3rd (14th in NCAA) (284)
Hit by Pitch: 3rd (80)
Stolen Bases: T-5th (57)
Team/Individual Defense and Pitching
Earned Run Average: 3rd (11th in NCAA) (2.75) Leaders: Ross Mitchell- 1st (7th in NCAA)- (1.27)
Opposing Batting Average: 4th (.226) Leaders: R. Mitchell-10th (.213)
Innings Pitched: 1st (625.1) Leader: Kendall Graveman- 4th (113.2)
Strikeouts: 1st (3rd in NCAA) (571) Leader: Jonathan Holder- 7th (86)
Wins: 3rd (51) Leaders: R. Mitchell- 2nd (T-3rd in NCAA) (13); Chad Girodo- 7th (T-48th in NCAA) (9); Graveman- T-8th (8)
Saves: T-1st (24) Leader: Jonathan Holder- 1st (T-3rd in NCAA)- (21)
Appearances: Leader: Chad Girodo- 3rd (35); R. Mitchell and Holder- 5th (33)
Games Started: Leader: Graveman - 1st (19)
(Least Amount) Hits: 9th (515) Leaders: R. Mitchell- T-12th- (70)
(Least Amount) Earned Runs: 8th (191) Leader: R. Mitchell- T-1st- (13)
(Least Amount) Doubles: T-3rd (68); Leader: R. Mitchell- T-8th (9)
(Least Amount) Triples: T-3rd (6) Leaders: R. Mitchell and Pollorena -T-1st (0)
(Least Amount) Home Runs: T-4th (21) Leaders: R. Mitchell and Pollorena- T-5th (2)
(Least Amount) Intentional Walks: 1st (3)
Fielding %: 8th (.972)
Chances: 1st (2768) Leader: Wes Rea- 6th (503)
Putouts: 1st (1876) Leaders: Rea- 5th (472); Nick Ammirati- 15th (379)
Assists: 1st (814) Leaders: Frazier-1st (235); Pirtle- T-4th (179)
Double Plays: T-1st (T-2nd in NCAA) (80) Leaders: Frazier-2nd (63); Rea- 6th (50); Pirtle-T-8th (44)
It's now go time. The Bulldogs prepare for the biggest two to three days in the history of Mississippi State sports. State takes on the UCLA Bruins in a best of three setup beginning later tonight at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs will throw out sophomore Trevor Fitts (0-0, 2.86) is on the mound for the second time in the College World Series in the biggest game of his life. Expect to see him go through the lineup a couple of times before giving way to Chad Girodo out of the bullpen.
Game two will be Tuesday night and game three on Wednesday if necessary. All three games are set for 7 p.m. central.