The Mississippi State Baseball team just finished their tenth game of the season down in Houston Texas last night in a 12 inning late night victory. The bulldogs had a decent night at the plate with ten hits scoring three runs. The pitching staff lead by Ethan Small held Houston to seven hits and two runs in the three extra inning contest. This was a solid victory for the Bulldogs that should build some positive momentum going forward.
Needless to say the bulldogs have not been hitting on all cylinders and have struggled at the plate for the most part this season, while the pitching staff could use a little cleaning-up as well. It would not be uncommon for a coach with this much talent on a team both at the plate and on the mound to just let the team work through this rough patch without making any changes, but this does not seem to be the direction of Coach Henderson
During the last two games, Couch Henderson has been shaking up the batting order and throwing in some new faces looking for that right mix. I believe this is a good sign for the Bulldog fan base to see a coach that will do what needs to be done to win. This team has more talent at the plate than last year’s team as a whole and will hit for a better over-all average in 2018. Currently the Bulldogs are carrying a 272 overall batting average compared to last year’s overall average of 282. I will even go out on a limb and say we have more hitters capable of hitting multiple Home-runs thought-out the lineup, but do not have a single hitter with power like Brent Rookie did 2017. This could be a dangerous team in 2018 but it is going to take some adjusting and that is what Henderson is prepared to do.
To this point my biggest observation of our hitting, is lack of disciple and vision at the plate. Jake Magnum arguably the best leadoff hitter in the country is still chasing that low and inside slider 90% percent of the time and he will see it all year long. Several of the hitters are just not seeing the ball very well out of the pitchers hand and will get much better with more plate appearances. Last night’s game was the best all-around batting lineup established all season with hitting threats in every inning.
There is not a whole lot be said about the pitching so far except the lack of endurance is very obvious. It is very important for the starting pitchers to get into the sixth and seventh inning and by the time we start SEC play we should have at least five pitchers capable of that. Ethan Small looked pretty strong last night, he wasted a few pitches but overall did a good job. Konnor Pilkington is getting there going seven innings the night before while only giving up three hits and one earned run, a very solid performance. Cole Gordon also gave a solid relief effort in that game going two innings with no hits and four strikeouts. These small changes and adjustments at the plate along with the pitching staff gaining the ability to go deeper into the game is positive movement in the right direction for the Bulldogs.
So for all you Bulldog Baseball Fans, things did get off to a shaky start on multiple fronts, but I believe Coach Henderson with right the ship and make all the adjustments needed to send the Bulldogs to the regionals in 2018.