After sweeping the Starkville regional, Mississippi State entered the super regional against Arizona with all the confidence in the world. But, there was none of it Friday evening, as the Bulldogs fell to the Wildcats, 1-0.
Dakota Hudson got the start for Mississippi State. In his last outing at Dudy Noble Field, Hudson threw 6 1/3 innings, in which he gave up seven hits, one run, and struck out six. An overall solid performance from the Cardinals' 1st rounder. Daniel Brown came in for Hudson in the 7th and picked up where Hudson left off. In 2 2/3 innings, the Brewers' 7th rounder gave up no hits, no runs, and struck out three. It was a fantastic pitching day for State.
The other side of the ball, however, was a completely different story. I've never seen this team hit so poorly since opening weekend, a 4-0 loss to FAU, the last time we were shut out. We were able to string together five hits but couldn't get anything from it.
The biggest difference in this game is two out hitting. Throughout the season, two out hitting has been a strength of this team. They seem to have no fear at the plate with two outs. But, nothing like that occurred on Friday. We couldn't hit the side of a barn with two outs.
In the 1st inning, with men on 1st and 2nd, Gavin Collins and Jacob Robson flew out back to back. In the 3rd inning, with men on 2nd and 3rd, Jacob Robson grounded out. In the 4th inning, with runners on the corners, Jake Mangum struck out. And finally, in the 9th inning, with men on 1st and 2nd, Jake Mangum struck out.
And let me talk about Jake Mangum for a second. What I'm about to say doesn't imply he's a bad player because he's not. He's probably the best hitter on our team, and to be perfectly honest, probably my favorite player on the team. But, Friday, he wasn't the Jake Mangum we've seen all year. He swung at EVERYTHING. That at bat in the 4th, with men on the corners, he struck out on three pitches - ball in the dirt, ball high and away, and a ball in the dirt. I don't know if that's just a freshman mistake or something, but he needs to rebound on Saturday for us to have a legitimate shot at pulling this off.
Mississippi State drops to 44-17-1 on the year and will need to take the next two games to get to Omaha. Saturday's game is at 5:00 PM on ESPNU.