(Photo Courtesy of Mississippi State Athletics)
After Christian MacLeod came off the mound against Kent State last Friday night after just 1.2 innings, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) and walking 3, many of the Bulldog faithful were scratching their heads and wondering just what happened to the Christian MacLeod of 2020. Before the season was called to a halt, the freshman from Huntsville was en fuego, garnering co-national freshman of the year and becoming one of only three Bulldog hurlers to have multiple double digit strikeout games in his debut season, joining major leaguers Paul Maholm and Eric DuBose. 2021 brought some difficulties for the tall lefty, as he struggled with control and hadn’t gone past 4 innings in any of his starts, but when Christian MacLeod strolled off the mound at Dudy Noble Field on Friday night after going 5 innings and striking out 11 Eastern Michigan batters, he showed the college baseball world that “The Weatherman” was back.
The ace of the Bulldog staff laid the foundation for the home team to shutout its opponent for the 4th straight game, blanking Eastern Michigan 14-0 and setting a record for consecutive scoreless innings that dated back to 1971. In his first trip through the Eagle lineup, MacLeod fanned 8 batters and induced 1 flyout. He would go on to pitch 5 strong, giving up 0 runs on 1 hit.
As noted above, the scoring was one-sided on the night. The Bulldogs plated their first run in the bottom of the 2nd when Kamren James opened the frame with a double. He advanced to 3rd on a Luke Hancock sacrifice fly and scored when the Eastern Michigan first baseman couldn’t handle a hot shot off the bat of Logan Tanner, giving the home team a 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs would tack on 3 more runs in the bottom of the 3rd when Lane Forsythe opened the frame with a single and Scotty Dubrule followed with a single of his own to advance Forsythe to 3rd. Dubrule then stole 2nd. He was lost on the basepath after a bad read on a Rowdey Jordan infield single led to him being caught in between 2nd and 3rd with nowhere to go. Tanner Allen then drove Forsythe home with a double to right to make the score 2-0. Rowdey Jordan scored on a Kamren James groundout and Tanner Allen came home on a Luke Hancock double. The inning ended with the Boys in Maroon up 4-0. The Bulldogs would add 3 more in the bottom of the 5th when Rowdey Jordan doubled and then was plated by a Tanner Allen single. Allen then advanced to 2nd on a Luke Hancock walk and stole 3rd before scoring on a Logan Tanner groundout to make it a 6-0 ballgame. Josh Hatcher then doubled to center, scoring Hancock from 2nd to make the score 7-0. The home team would push the lead to 8-0 in the bottom of the 6th when Lane Forsythe singled and was later scored on a Kamren James sacrifice fly. The Diamond Dawgs would cement the inevitable in the bottom of the 8th, scoring 6 runs and putting the final nail in the coffin. The inning started with a walk to pinch-hitter Brayland Skinner. Pinch-hitter Kyte McDonald then doubled to the wall in left-center and scored Skinner from first. McDonald advanced to 3rd on an errant throw to home. See that hit here:
Kamren James then followed with a single to plate McDonald and make the score 10-0. Kace Garner then drew a walk and Logan Tanner followed with a walk of his own to load the bases with no outs. 3 consecutive bases loaded walks to Brandon Pimentel, Brad Cumbest and Lane Forsythe pushed the lead to 13-0. The final run score when Tanner Leggett grounded out the 3rd, plating Pimentel and making the final score 14-0 and sending the Bulldog faithful home from The Carnegie Hall of College Baseball with smiles on their faces. The win pushed the Diamond Dawgs to 11-3 while dropping Eastern Michigan to 4-3.
Christian MacLeod (1-1) took the win for the M Over S. the Bulldog pitching staff, which included Brandon Smith, Riley Self, Parker Stinnett, and Spencer Price, combined to pitch 9 scoreless frames, giving up 3 hits and striking out 18.
At the plate, 10 different Bulldogs had hits, and 10 different Bulldogs had RBIs. Tanner Allen extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Freshman Lane Forsythe led the Bulldog assault with 3 hits and an RBI. Kamren James and Tanner Allen each added a pair of hits a well. James also added 3 RBIs while Allen added 2, as did Logan Tanner.
As of note, following the game, Coach Chris Lemonis informed the media that 3rd baseman Landon Jordan is no longer with the team, as he has decided to “Take another route.”
The Diamond Dawgs look to take the series tomorrow against Eastern Michigan, first pitch is scheduled for 2 pm CT, with Bulldog righty Eric Cerantola slated to take the bump.
The shirt on the night went to none other than Mr. Weatherman, Christian MacLeod:
Recap and Box Score can be found here
Now, let’s cue that Bocephus