Game 1: Mississippi State 9, Georgia 2
Dakota Hudson threw seven strong innings and a seven run explosion in the fourth inning propelled MSU to a series opening victory. Hudson, Vance Tatum, and Ethan Small combined to strike out eight batters. And while the trio gave up 10 hits, being able to hold the visiting Bulldogs to two runs is an impressive feat. Read more about it here.
Game 2: Mississippi State 3, Georgia 1
Game two wasn't as exciting when it comes to hitting, but Mississippi State was able to comeback and win the pitching duel to earn the series victory. Austin Sexton went toe-to-toe with Robert Tyler of Georgia and only surrendered one run to UGA. Ryan Rigby came in and earned his second win of the season in this game thanks to some late inning run support from the offense. Read more about it here.
Game 3: Georgia 11, Mississippi State 8
This game was long and awful and MSU struggled again in a series finale. This was a back and forth affair, with MSU and UGA striking back and forth to tie the game and take a lead. Ultimately pitching struggles got the best of Mississippi State in late innings and fell short of a miracle ninth inning comeback. Read more about it here.
Game 4: Mississippi State 13, Southern Miss 5
Despite previous midweek mishaps, Mississippi State won in a dominant fashion against Southern Miss. Konnor Pilkington rolled through USM in his 3.1 innings of work and had an overall strong performance. Ryan Rigby also had a fairly strong outing and was replaced by Vance Tatum and Reid Humphreys, who struck out four in 2.0 innings. The Bulldogs racked up an impressive 18 hits and couldn't be stopped at the plate by Southern Miss. Read more about it here.
The week as a whole
MSU keeps this rollercoaster of a season going with some exciting wins and a painful loss in game three. But things are intriguing for Mississippi State. On one of our earlier episodes of For Whom the Podcast Tolls, I'd criticized this team for a lack of an identity and losing games because of it. It seems that there still isn't one, but that has worked out for MSU in some weird way. The Bulldogs have shown that they can win games in a variety of ways against even some of the best teams in the nation. Right now, MSU has shown that it is not overly limited by either hitting or pitching (outside of bullpen struggles in series finales) and is able to win in both high scoring affairs and pitcher's duels.
What was special?
We just won our second SEC series in a row:
How many SEC series has state won pic.twitter.com/fgc2rRPtQa— Ethan Lee (@leeethanj) March 26, 2016
And it was our third series as a whole in a row:
How many series has State won in a row? pic.twitter.com/Qol4zj9dxS— Daniel Black (@dblack97) March 26, 2016
And then we rolled right through a strong Southern Miss team:
FINAL | #12 Mississippi State beats in-state foe Southern Miss! See you Friday at Dudy Noble as we battle Ole Miss! pic.twitter.com/KnLAjauHki
— MSU Baseball (@HailStateBB) March 30, 2016
When you leave Trustmark Park and hear USM folks still yelling, "SMTTT." pic.twitter.com/IhkM4h66sJ— FWtCT (@mstatesports) March 30, 2016
In the eight games after crapping the bed against Eastern Kentucky and Oral Roberts, Mississippi State has gone 6-2 with some huge wins against Vandy, UGA, and Southern Miss. MSU is starting to play up to its full potential more often and is seemingly catching some steam, which will be very important to have with some of our opponents coming up. Getting this momentum before playing Ole Miss, Florida, A&M, and LSU is huge and can't be understated.
What was not?
Game three of the UGA series. Game three was less than fun. Again. Two weeks in a row now. That's not good if you ask me. Pitching struggles were the root of the problem, again. John Cohen is likely to tinker around with who will throw on Sunday, and after strong performances from Konnor Pilkington and Ryan Rigby against a very good Southern Miss team, I'm hoping that we'll see the two of them throwing on Sunday.
Ole Miss. The Rebels swept State last year in Oxford and have a very strong team of their own this year. Ole Miss is currently in a bit of a slump coming off an Easter weekend where they were swept by South Carolina. The Gamecocks are one of the best teams in the nation right now, but it is intriguing to see Ole Miss struggle so mightily against good competition. It helps to set up for a very fun rivalry series this weekend.