By Brad Locke
Ryan Duffy and his fellow seniors are doing all they can to keep the end from coming too soon.
That has been evident in the way Mississippi State’s veterans have produced at the plate the last few games. Duffy, for example, is 21-for-34 (.618) over his last eight games with 12 runs and 22 RBIs.
That stretch included a nine-RBI outing against Jackson State; a two-homer game against Tennessee; and a 5-for-7, six-RBI showing against Alcorn State.
“He’s really kind of become a big leader on our team, and it’s really coming out on the field,” second-year coach John Cohen said. “He has become the Ryan Duffy we’ve all wanted him to become.”
Duffy deferred credit to the hitters surrounding him.
“I keep getting so many opportunities with runners on base and runners in scoring position, so I mean, it’s just gonna happen when guys around you are doing well,” Duffy said.
Heading into this weekend’s series at Alabama (22-15, 5-10 SEC) – tonight’s first pitch is 6:30 – several MSU seniors are picking up the pace at the plate.
– Over his last five games, first baseman Connor Powers is 12-for-19 (.632) with nine runs scored and 10 RBIs. He was named the SEC Player of the Week on Monday.
– Over his last four games, outfielder Luke Adkins is 10-for-18 (.556) with eight runs scored.
– Over his last four games, DH Russ Sneed is 8-for-12 (.667) with five runs scored and 10 RBIs.
In last weekend’s series versus Tennessee, State (20-17, 5-10) scored in double digits every game and won two of three. On Tuesday, it piled up 27 runs against Alcorn State, a SWAC school.
In their five games since being swept at home by Arkansas, the Bulldogs are hitting .412 with 33 walks and 15 hit-by-pitches.
“When we are getting walks, when we’re getting hit-by-pitches, when we are doing all the little tiny components that you have to do to create big innings, I know we’re in sync,” Cohen said, “and that’s what I think we’re able to do right now.”
It should be noted that MSU’s offensive outburst hasn’t exactly come against an Ole Miss or LSU. But the Bulldogs will face those teams soon enough, and Cohen likes the attitude permeating a team that is on the SEC Tournament bubble.
The Bulldogs haven’t made the tourney in three years.
“It’s so much more fun to be in our dugout, because our kids really are excited about playing every single day,” Cohen said. “They’re really motivated, they’re really pulling together. And that’s what it’s all about.
“That’s when you know that this program is starting to head in a really positive direction.”
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tonight: Mississippi State RHP Caleb Reed (0-3, 5.47) vs. Alabama RHP Jimmy Nelson (4-1, 3.54)
Saturday: Mississippi State RHP Chris Stratton (4-3, 3.88) vs. Alabama LHP Adam Morgan (4-2, 5.26)
Sunday: Mississippi State LHP Luke Bole (2-0, 6.92) vs. Alabama RHP Tucker Hawley (1-0, 4.58)
By Brad Locke