Welcome our guests from Arizona to Stark-Vegas for the weekend. We do have a "limited" baseball history with them. We have played 15 games (none in the post-season) with MSU holding an 11-4 edge. The first time we played was a three game set (1978) in Tucson. This will be the third year in a row we have played. In 2014 we played two games in Tucson with Arizona winning both but MSU returned the favor here in 2015 winning both games.
Arizona has made the trip to Omaha 16 times, winning the championship 4 times (2012, 1986, 1980, 1976). The last time the Wildcats made it to Omaha they won it all. They are a junior-sophomore oriented team carrying only 4 seniors. They are coached by Jay Johnson (1st yr.) who credits their turn around from last year to as he says "Toughness has been redefined by this team".
Arizona (42-21, 16-14 Pac-12) is led by All Regional players Bobby Dalbec, Zach Gibbons, Ryan Aguilar, Cesar Salazar (catcher) and Regional MVP pitcher Nathan Bannister.
Notable Arizona Statistics:
Zach Gibbons (.338 BA), Cody Ramer (.354), Ryan Aguilar (.314), Team BA .291
23 HR as a team, Aguilar -7, Dalbec 6
Dalbec has a team high 73 K's followed by Aguilar - 42 and Ramar -37
RBI leaders: Aguilar -46, Gibbons -39, Dalbec and Ramar -37 each.
The Cats have a .975 fielding% with 58, Dalbec having 12 of them.
Nathan Bannister is their "Ace" (10-2, 2.56 ERA). he has 88 K in 119.2 IP
Bobby Dalbec (9-4, 7 SV, 3.28 ERA) 71 IP, yes he usually bats also (see RBI and K above)
JC Cloney (6-4, 2.86 ERA) 94 IP
8 Relief pitchers have double digit appearances with ERAs ranging from 3.7 to 8.1
Mississippi State has appeared in the CWS 9 times with a 10-18 record in Omaha.
1971 District Regional @ N.C beating Georgia Tech 5-2 to advance to Omaha
1979 Hosted South Regional beating Murray St. 8-6, 18-8 to advance
1981 @Clemson Regional beating East TN St. 6-5 to advance
1985 Hosted South I Regional beating Michigan 19-8 to advance
This was the Will Clark, Rafael Palmeiro, Bobby Thigpen, Jeff Brantley team. Wow these guys could play!!!
1990 Hosted South II Regional beating FSU 11-8 (video later) and 4-3 to advance
1997 Hosted Mid-East Regional beating Washington 7-5 and 4-3 to advance
1998 @Central Regional (host TX A&M) losing to A&M 4-3 before beating A&M twice 10-9 and 11-5 to advance
2007 Hosted Our 1st Super Regional beating Clemson 8-6 and 8-5 to advance (video here later).
This was after they ousted us in their Super Regional in 2006 @ Clemson. ( PAYBACK )
2013 @ Charlottesville (Virginia) Super Regional beating host Virginia 11-6 and 6-5 to advance.
We would play UCLA in the CWS Championship.
HOLY COWBELL that was truly amazing and raised MSU Baseball to a whole new level.
Surely you remember this team which has 6 players that have already spent significant time in MLB.
Thinking as I pack and head to my beloved MSU before daylight Friday I hope to see more majestic moments like:
(Father) Burke Master's dramatic GRAND SLAM in 1990 that propelled us to the championship round then
ON to Omaha.
Listen to Jim Ellis make the call:
Then the dramatic save by Mitch Moorland coming in for the last 2 outs before Omaha Baby.
Watch, listen and live it again:
When you come this weekend, if you can't feel the history in Dudy Noble,
Brother something is seriously wrong with you.
Be There, Be Courteous but BE LOUD from the 1st pitch to the last out as we PUNCH OUR TICKETS
to OMAHA AGAIN!!!!!!