Thursday night was one of the weirdest games I can remember in some time. Of course, a lot of that was due to my own expectations of what would happen after State went up 4-1 early in the game, but still, things got weird from there. Last night's game had a bit of everything - base hits to the no-man's-land parts of the park, home runs, errors, benny hill-eque moments, plays at the plate, and Wes Rea stealing a base.
Wait, hold on, Wes Rea stole a base?
He sure did, intrigued fan. Here's the evidence to prove it too:
Getting past that fun part from early in last night's game, the Bulldogs and Wildcats battled back and forth in a game that seemingly changed leads from one team to the other deep into the night. What resulted in the wild affair was a walk-off Kentucky win in the bottom of the 12th on a tricky double play ball that couldn't quite get turned cleanly. After the way the night had gone, there was no more a fitting end than that, and near 1 a.m. this morning thousands of Bulldogs like me turned their TVs and computers off to go get a regrettable amount of sleep.
My confidence in an MSU win reached its peak after the top of the sixth as State tacked on another run to go up 4-1. I just knew that Ross Mitchell with a three-run lead would hold up for four more at-bats, but what I forgot was that Kentucky has lived and died with its offense this season. The Wildcats would come back and tie the game right back up in the bottom of the sixth with three runs of their own, and I knew State would be in for a battle. Things teetered back and forth from there until the 12th when Preston Brown got in a bit of a jam that would ultimately lead to Kentucky taking the game and a much-needed day of rest on Friday.
There were so many points from last night that make you want to go back and say "If we had just done this, or scored here, or not sent this guy", but going through each of them at this point is futile. The game will forever be a loss, and the harsh reality is that the Bulldogs will now turn around just hours after finishing the marathon game to play Florida this afternoon. State has been here before - I've referenced it a thousand times already, but 2012 y'all - so they aren't completely out of it, but at this point the arms left available are slim. At this point, though, a loss today isn't the worst thing in the world, as it sends State home to rest up for a regional. Sure, we'd love to see the Bulldogs battle back to play on Sunday, but at this point I think I'd be fine with whatever happens this afternoon, win or lose. A few notes before I go:
- Last night was fun. Sure, it was also frustrating as hell, but it was fun more than anything. The team seemed to be relaxed and having a good time, which mirrors a lot of what we saw last year. I mean how many teams do you know that can pull off the Steak-n-Shake hats?
- A few key moments defined this game. Yeah yeah I know I said I wasn't going to talk about it, and I won't get into specifics. You all know the moments I'm talking about. But in a game as back and forth as this one was, it was those pivotal moments that made the game.
- Last night's unis were slightly less offensive to the eyes than the white version worn Tuesday night. I love the smoke gray color, I just would like to see the GIANT WATERMARK INTERLOCKING M-S go away, or maybe replace "Hail State" across the front. Like I said last night, though, if you wonder why we even wear all of these, here's an MSU commit who is slated to be drafted fairly high:
If what I'm hearings true MSU will be Adidas primary school. If it's anything like Oregon I won't ever have to by clothes. #HailState— Jared Padgett (@Jpadge11) May 23, 2014
- State fans are second to none. Last night was just another example of why that's true. You had a large contingent of fans there all the way until the final out was recorded just before 1 a.m., and they cheered loudly and stayed in it the whole time. That's not even mentioning the group down the 3B line who looked like they were having enough fun for every one of us watching at home. Admit it - you wanted to be sitting with them. We all did. The spirit of Left Field Lounge was represented well with them.
- Kentucky's entire team is Amish:
Not a bad inning by Mose Schrute. pic.twitter.com/r0hx1Xi8PH— Braden Bishop (@tbradenbishop) May 23, 2014
- I think we can let the hosting discussion rest. No, State is not done for the weekend nor are they completely out of it, but the odds were long to begin with that State could earn a hosting spot by what it did in Hoover. To me, they needed a clean run through to have a chance, and now that's out. That's fine with me - this team has played well on the road this season anyways.
With the loss, the Bulldogs turn around and face the Florida Gators this afternoon 30 minutes following the Ole Miss vs. Arkansas game at 3 p.m.