Four games in and MSU fans are already in panic mode. You can't really blame us, there were high hopes for the 2016 baseball team even after a down year. The season is far from over and I'll wait to see how it plays out before calling for coaches to lose their jobs, but there's no denying that opening weekend looked like a mirror image of 2015.
The offense and pitching were rarely firing on all cylinders at the same time, as MSU beat down South Dakota State twice but went winless against a quality Florida Atlantic squad.
I'll do a weekend in review after every series. I'll keep these short and sweet, as I'm sure you've already read our game recaps and other content throughout the weekend, and have practically talked yourself to death about MSU baseball by Monday.
Let's jump right into it, and take a look at what went right and what went wrong for the maroon and white against Florida Atlantic and South Dakota State.
What went right: The bats in the middle of the lineup
John Cohen surprised everyone when he kept a consistent lineup all four games to start the season. The 2-5 hitters took advantage and found a rhythm at the plate. Jack Kruger, Brent Rooker, Nathaniel Lowe, and Reid Humphreys were the highlights of the weekend. Kruger was especially dominant with nine hits in 16 at bats to jumpstart his MSU career, including his first career home run on Sunday. He and Reid Humphreys each had five two-baggers, as MSU belted a whopping 20 doubles on the weekend. Let's not leave out the bottom of the lineup either as Ryan Gridley and Luke Alexander each hit over .400. Alexander also hit his first career home run.
As a team MSU posted a solid series offensively hitting .356. They hit nearly a fourth of the doubles they hit all last season (wow) and showed that several newcomers will anchor the lineup. If there was a negative, the bats only produced four hits in game two against FAU and failed to score a run. There were also way too many runners left on base -- 41 over four games -- and that will have to get corrected going forward. Overall though, a positive start to the season at the plate.
What went wrong: Everything on the mound
As MSU sent in reliever after reliever in the 7th inning Friday night and the FAU runs continued to pile up, I couldn't help but have a flashback. If you draw an early conclusion it once again looks like the bullpen will be a major weakness on this team. To be fair, it was the first career action for a lot of these guys so they shouldn't be thrown under the bus here. It's all on Cohen for not having his team prepared.
There's no denying it was a terrible start for the pitching staff, and that includes starters and bullpen, freshmen and veterans. Dakota Hudson rebounded after a slow start in game one to strike out eight over five innings, but he has to find consistency and limit the walks if he wants to pitch on Friday's in the SEC. With that being said, he did have the best outing of any starter. The only relievers who performed well were Vance Tatum -- 4.1 ip, 6 k's, 0 runs -- and Keegan James -- 4.1 ip, 2 k's, 1 run -- although each of those guys allowed more hits than Wes Johnson would prefer.