(Photo Courtesy of Mississippi State Athletics)
In the words of Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” The Mississippi State Bulldogs took a right hook to the jaw at the hands of the Arkansas Razorbacks last weekend, but the Boys in Maroon didn’t stay on the mat long. Due to the Easter holiday, most SEC series have been moved to Thursday-Saturday. As of Saturday morning, the Bulldogs have clenched the series from Coach Nick Mingione’s Kentucky Wildcats by scores of 8-1 and 3-2. The Bulldog pitching staff looks to be back to its old, lethal ways, and the offense has used timely hits to take their second SEC series of the year.
Thursday night saw lefty ace Christian MacLeod (3-2) take the bump. The junior from Huntsville was in ace form, holding Kentucky to 0 runs on 2 hits while fanning 11 in 6 innings of work. He was followed by Brandon Smith, Houston Harding, and Stone Simmons. The Bulldogs pitchers gave up only 1 run on 5 hits and struck out 15.
Below is a new addition to my postgame recaps. The Bulldog K count is kept and posted after every Bulldog game by Bulldog fan Maggie Clark, who can be found hanging Ks on the rail of her sky box atop Dudy Noble field. Give her a follow on Twitter @KCountMaggie
On Thursday night, the Bulldogs used 2 Luke Hancock sacrifice flies to open the scoring and never looked back, as they cruised to an 8-1 victory. The home team opened the scoring in the bottom of the 1st when Brayland Skinner opened the frame with a double. Rowdey Jordan was then hit by a pitch, and then Tanner Allen drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Skinner scored on a Luke Hancock sac fly to make the score 1-0. The Diamond Dawgs added another run in the bottom of the 3rd, when Rowdey Jordan was again hit by a pitch, and then advanced to 3rd on a Scotty Dubrule single before scoring on another Luke Hancock sacrifice fly to make the score 2-0. The home team scored again in the bottom of the 4th on a bases loaded walk to Kamren James that scored Scotty Dubrule to make the score 3-0. The score became 4-0 in the bottom of the 6th when Rowdey Jordan deposited his 3rd home run of the year in the lounge.
The Wildcats finally got on the board in the top of the 7th when T.J. Collett reached on a fielding error and advanced to 2nd on a Coltyn Kessler single. He moved to 3rd on a walk and scored on a wild pitch to make the score 4-1. The Boys in Maroon busted it open the bottom of the 8th when Scotty Dubrule singled and then advanced on a sacrifice bunt. Brayland Skinner then reached on a fielding error to put runner on the corners with 1 out. Rowdey Jordan then reached on a fielding error that scored Dubrule. Tanner Allen then drew a walk to load the bases before Kamren James delivered a bases clearing double to make the game 8-1. That’s where the score would hold as the Bulldog faithful departed from Dudy Noble Field with smiles on their faces with a series opening win. The win improved the Bulldogs to 18-7 (3-4) and dropped the Wildcats to 18-5 (5-2).
The Diamond Dawgs were led offensively by Kamren James, who went 2-4 with 4 RBIs. Rowdey Jordan hit his 3rd big fly of the year, and Luke Hancock drove home 2 runs with 2 sacrifice flies.
The win shirt on the night went to Mr. Weatherman Christian MacLeod, who proved why he is worthy to be an SEC ace.
The Friday night affair was a bit closer than Thursday’s tilt, as the Bulldogs once again used a Luke Hancock sacrifice fly to pull ahead and take game 2, and the series, by a 3-2 score.
Will Bednar (ND) drew the start and matched the start from the night before by Christian MacLeod. The righty from Valencia, PA went 6 innings, giving up 2 runs on 2 hits while fanning 10. He was followed by Cam Tullar and Landon Sims (2-0). The trio combined to give up 2 runs on 5 hits and fan 12.
The game held scoreless until the top of the 4th when John Rhodes doubled, and then T.J. Collett hit a 2-run home run to dead center to put the Wildcats on top 2-0. The Bulldogs struck back in the bottom of the 6th when Bratland Skinner drew a walk and Rowdey Jordan singled. Tanner Allen then singled to score Brayland Skinner, who put a flying juke move on the Kentucky catcher to avoid the tag and put the home team on the board.
Luke Hancock then added his 3rd sac fly in 24 hours to tie the ballgame at 2. The Bulldogs took the lead in the bottom of the 8th when Rowdey Jordan singled and advanced to 2nd when Tanner Allen was hit by a pitch. Both Bulldogs advanced on a wild pitch, and Jordan scored on a sacrifice fly by who else but Luke Hancock to put the home team on top 3-2. The score would hold as Landon Sims slammed the door and sent the Bulldog faithful home from The Carnegie Hall of College Baseball with smiles on their faces and a series win.
Offense came at a premium for both sides. The Bulldogs got 2 RBIs from Luke Hancock on 2 more sacrifice flies, his 3rd and 4th in 2 games. Tanner Allen added an RBI as well. Rowdey Jordan now has an 11 game on-base streak and was 3-4 in the contest.
The win shirt on the night went to Landon Sims, who was able to slam the door on the Wildcats and was vital in calming the infield after a dropped infield popup in the 9th led to runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out. Sims next pitch was a comebacker that he took and started a game inning double play to record the win.
The Bulldogs look to sweep the series today at 2pm CT with Jackson Fristoe on the bump.
Recaps and Box Scores can be found below
Now for the tunes, the pride of Pikeville, KY, Dwight Yoakam: