The first weekend of March was very eventful for Mississippi State athletics.
The Men’s Basketball team was looking to end their losing streak before the SEC Tournament, the Diamond Dawgs traveled out West for a three game series versus the Oregon Ducks, the Softball team hosted the Bulldog Slamboree, and Women’s Hoops got another shot at South Carolina in the SEC Championship game.
Ready, Weatherspoon come up big to end Dawg’s losing streak.
Heading into Saturday, Ben Howland’s squad was coming off seven consecuitve disappointing losses in SEC play. The cure for that? Playing a team coached by Johnny Jones.
The result? A dominating 88-76 victory that gives the team much-needed confidence heading into postseason play.
I.J. Ready made sure to put his fingerprints all over his final game inside The Hump, getting everyone involved en route to 13 assists - the most by any SEC player this season. Ready set the tone for the game on his special night, but was not alone in his efforts to end the Bulldogs’ losing skid.
Quinndary Weatherspoon returned from a sprained ankle injury that kept him out of last Tuesday’s heartbreaking loss to third place South Carolina on the road. Weatherspoon came with an assertive and vigorous attitude right out of the gate, bringing energy to the entire team. The conference’s seventh leading scorer led all game scorers with 18 points in the contest. Saturday reminded everyone just how dynamic of a player Q is when he is on his game.
This victory gives momentum to the young team as they try to make a run in the conference tournament later this week.
Mississippi State plays LSU Wednesday night in Nashville in the first game of the SEC Tournament at 6 p.m. Central Time. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.
Diamond Dawgs drop 2 of 3 at Oregon.
Men’s Hoops got things turned around, but the baseball team was not as fortunate this weekend.
Going out West is always a battle, and Mississippi State discovered that first-hand as they only managed to return back to Starkville with one victory following their weekend road trip.
Game 1 was an old fashioned pitchers duel, as there were only ten combined hits, two errors, and only one run came across the plate.
Friday night was not the most overly exciting baseball game ever; nevertheless, the fantastic Brent Rooker went 2-for-4 and the amazingly ridiculous Jake Mangum extended his streak to an insane 23 games on Friday Night. Who knows if he is actually human. However, the Maroon and White could only get a total of five hits through nine innings. Konnor Pilkington threw an impressive seven innings, but Mississippi State fell to Oregon by a score of 1-0.
Game 2 was the complete opposite for the road Dawgs.
Oregon got out to a quick 3-1 lead going into the 4th inning, but the bats came to life late as the Bulldogs brought home five runs across the plate on Saturday.
The remarkable Mangum extended his personal streak to 24 games, Brent Rooker continued to impress by getting on base 2 of his 3 at-bat’s that included a double, Josh Lovelady brought in two runs, and Harrison Bragg added a nice spark off the bench by adding three hits and reaching home plate twice in the victory. Riley Self (2.2 IP) was credited the win and Spencer Price got the save as the Bulldogs defeated the home Ducks 5-4 Saturday afternoon.
Game 3 was more of the same of Game 2. Both teams were to able to put together runs in a closely contested contest.
Douglas Ashcraft started on the mound for the Maroon and White on Sunday; however Oregon jumped out to a large 4-0 lead in just the second inning. Jake Mangum continued his hit streak, hit a double and recorded an RBI, and went 4-for-6 in an outstanding game by the stud sophomore. Ryan Gridley, Brent Rooker, and Luke Alexander also contributed to the Bulldogs’s 15 hits on the day. Ryan Cyr had a very impressive day on the mound, striking out a career-high seven batters and only giving up one run. Following a surge in the sixth and seventh innings, the Bulldogs took the lead 5-4. Oregon bounced back, however, and pushed the game into extra innings. The Ducks took care of business by winning 6-5 in 11 innings, taking the series two games to one.
Baseball is back in action Tuesday night against Louisiana Tech, who is coming off a sweep over Wichita State and also split the midweek series against Arkansas.
Softball sweep Bulldog Slamboree.
The impressive season for the softball team continues.
Beginning on Friday, Mississippi State (18-3) welcomed in the Central Arkansas Bears, Samford Bulldogs, and the UMass Minutemen into Starkville and sent all of them back home with a clean, five game sweep.
The Bulldogs kicked off their Slamboree with a 6-1 victory over Samford. Cassady Knudsen was credited the win. State defeated UMass 4-1 to finish their Friday night with a 2-0 day, in which Alexis Silkwood pitched a complete seven innings.
On Saturday, the games grew closer.
State won the double header by knocking off Central Arkansas 2-1. Reagan Green improved to 3-0 on the season and Silkwood recorder her fourth save on the year. The Bulldogs ended Saturday by beating Samford in extra innings by a score of 6 to 5.
State ended the weekend by sweeping Central Arkansas with an 8-0 victory. State scored six runs in a second-inning that gave them control throughout. Holly Ward recorded her third win on the season to cap off a weekend of domination by Mississippi State softball.
Bulldogs suffer crushing defeat to South Carolina in SEC Title Game.
The rematch is what they wanted and the rematch is what they got.
Just a year after falling to the Gamecocks in the SEC Championship last season, the Mississippi State Bulldogs got another chance at the defending champs.
A game full of swings and runs had fans of both schools at the edge of their seats throughout all four quarters. Whistles blew, fans cheered, and the players gave put all of their effort onto the court Sunday afternoon in Greenville, South Carolina.
State headed into the final quarter with a five point 45-40 lead. However, a quick 8-0 run by the defending champs set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Only four points were scored by the Bulldogs, resulting in a 59-49 loss and a missed opportunity to potentially capture the first number one seed in program history. Despite the heartbreaking defeat, this team has all the talent needed to make a run to the Final Four.
Mississippi State will find out what is next when the Women’s Tournament bracket releases Monday, March 13th.
With the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament tipping off on Wednesday, the baseball and softball teams returning to the mound, and Women’s hoops awaiting their next task, it should be another exciting week in Starkville.