27 years. That’s how long it had been since the Mississippi State baseball team had won a regular season SEC Championship. Their coach John Cohen was a player on that team. It had been far too long.
But that streak finally came to an end in 2016. The Bulldogs went 21-9 in SEC play, and won 11 of their final 12 SEC games to take home the trophy.
The fact that the baseball team pulled this off after a relatively rough start made this run to the title even sweeter. The Bulldogs had a 2-2 opening weekend and a pair of early season losses to Eastern Kentucky and Oral Roberts that had many believing this would be John Cohen’s last season as coach, but not because he was getting promoted to Athletic Director.
But once the team took two of three from Vanderbilt in Nashville, the team’s confidence was restored. They won 9 of the 10 SEC series they played in as opposed to losing 9 of 10 the previous season.
It all culminated in a night at Dudy Noble Field where Bulldog fans raucously celebrated Ole Miss winning a game against Texas A&M while the Bulldogs were trying to close out Arkansas. The Bulldogs could have shared a Conference Championship with the Aggies, to clinch it for themselves, the Bulldogs needed a little help from the Rebels.
It was an unusual scene, and caused a lot of angst towards the Clarion Ledger when their headline in the paper gave the credit to the Rebels for winning the SEC Championship. Regardless, the Bulldogs did what they hadn’t done in a very long time, and this was my favorite moment of 2016.