Super Bulldog weekend wasn't too super for the Maroon and White team as the sixth-ranked Florida Gators swept all three games in every way possible.
It was stellar pitching at times, and it was big innings for the offense at other times that helped the Gators improve to 31-10 and 12-6 in the SEC. Mississippi State fell to 22-19 and 6-12 in the league. It was the second straight sweep for the Gators.
MSU couldn't overcome a four-run first inning by Florida on Friday night. Josh Tobias cleared the bases with a triple as part of that big inning that gave the Gators the lead for the remainder of the game.
Lucas Laster only lasted 1.1 innings and allowed four runs in his worst outing of the year.
MSU closed the gap to 4-3 in the fourth inning when Wes Rea singled in a run with two outs and John Holland followed with a two-RBI double. Jake Vickerson started out that inning with a single, and Robson beat out a double play attempt to keep the inning alive.
The Gators tacked on two runs one inning later to add to the lead when the first two hitters reached on an infield single and HBP. A fielder's choice groundout by Peter Alonso and a two-out double by Tobias plated the runs for the Gators.
The Bulldogs only scratched out one more hit the rest of the game to take the 6-3 loss. Florida starter Logan shore pitched all nine innings and only surrendered three runs off six hits to earn the win.
Holland was the only MSU player with multiple hits or RBI's, going 2-for-3 with two RBI's.
The offense was a no-show once again in Saturday's game, and a strong start from Preston Brown went to waste as Florida claimed a 2-1 pitchers duel victory.
The Gators plated the first run of the game in the top of the fourth when Tobias singled up the middle with one out and later scored on a single by Peter Alonso.
MSU evened the score in the bottom half of the inning when Jacob Robson started things off with a single to right field. He then went first to third on a good hustle play after a wild pitch went all the way to the backstop. Wes Rea brought Robson in with a single to right on a good display of two-strike hitting.
The Gators took the lead for good in the seventh when Alonso and Schwarz started the inning with back-to-back singles. After a fielder's choice put runners on the corners with one out, the Gators plated a run when Wes Rea slipped attempting to field a bunt by Ryan Larson.
Trevor Fitts entered in relief for Preston Brown that inning and pitched a solid 2.2 innings to finish the game without allowing a run as the Gators claimed the 2-1 win.
Aaron Rhodes earned the win after relieving Dane Dunning's strong start into the sixth inning. Lefty Bobby Poyner, one of the SEC's best, pitched the final 2.2 innings to earn the save.
MSU finished the game with just five hits, and no player recorded multiple hits.
An offensive explosion happened on Sunday, and it still wasn't to the benefit of the home team.
Tobias continued his tear at the plate with a two-RBI single in the top of the first inning after two hits and a HBP from starter Austin Sexton loaded the bases.
Peter Alonso blasted a longgg solo home run in the fourth inning for what would be the start of a huge day at the plate for the sophomore.
The Bulldogs closed the gap to 3-2 in the bottom half of the inning when Gavin Collins followed Jake Vickerson's single with a two-run dinger.
Brent Rooker doubled to start the fifth and came home on a sac fly from Ryan Gridley. Singles from Seth Heck and Cody Brown kept the rally going but Gavin Collins grounded into a double play to end the threat.
The Gators pulled ahead for good in the sixth inning when Alonso's two-run bomb chased Austin Sexton out of the ballgame. A hit by pitch, a walk, and two hits would lead to two more runs to give Florida a 7-3 advantage.
The Gators added insurance runs in the seventh and ninth, and the Dogs only scratched out two more in the eighth on Wes Rea's double to right field. Florida won the game 10-5 to finish off the sweep.
State used seven total pitchers for the game to try and slow down Florida's offensive attack. Taylor Lewis picked up the win for Florida after throwing 4.1 innings in relief.
Vickerson, Rea, and Rooker all had multiple hits for the Bulldogs, while Collins and Rea each had a pair of RBI's. Florida's Peter Alonso went 4-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI's to highlight his team's big day at the plate.
The series summed up MSU's 2015 season in a nutshell. If the pitching is on, the bats are silent. When the bats come to life, the pitching gives in. It's just been that kind of season.
One surprising part of the series was how well MSU's pitchers kept Florida's two big boppers at bay. Harrison Bader and JJ Schwarz went a combined 3-for-23 with just one RBI between them.
The problem is that Florida has a much more deep and talented lineup than the Bulldogs, and it showed.
Shortstop Richie Martin recorded two hits in every game to bat .500 for the series. Josh Tobias hit the ball well like he has all season and was a part of almost every big inning the Gators had. Even players that haven't played much all season put on a show.
I'm specifically referring to Peter Alonso, who was the unlikely hero of the weekend. Alonso had been out of the lineup with an injury for a large portion of the season, but you couldn't tell it. After coming into the weekend with only 34 at bats, he went 7-for-12 with six RBI's. His two home runs on Sunday were his first long balls of the season. His last home run came on May 15th of the 2014 season.
Florida has plenty of depth up and down the lineup and in the pitching staff, and they are well on their way to earning a national seed, especially after the way they have played the past two weekends.
As for the Diamond Dogs, you can throw out any hope that was left for a post-season berth in the NCAA Tournament. While the RPI was helped a little just by playing a high RPI team in Florida, the sweep didn't allow it to climb much, as it sits at 99 today.
With road games left against Arkansas and Ole Miss, and a tough home series with #1 LSU, it's unlikely that State even finishes above .500 at this point. I am honestly shocked to be saying that in year seven of John Cohen and two years removed from a national championship appearance.
I am not one of the steady rising number of fans who believe John Cohen should be on the hot seat next year, but it is really hard to believe the state of the program right now given how well recruiting has been the past three seasons.
Not only are they fighting to finish above .500, but they would be left out of the SEC tournament if the season ended today. Down years happen, but how this team could possibly end up worse than 12th out of 14 teams in the SEC is beyond my mind.
One thing is for sure: The 2016 season better be a good one or more and more fans will start to grow restless. Whether it's fair or not, we live in a what have you done for me lately type of world when it comes to sports.
Cohen has accomplished a lot of great things in his seven years as head coach, but if this play continues he will quickly wear out his welcome from MSU baseball enthusiasts, who are some of the most passionate fans in the country.