BRAD LOCKE: Bulldogs lost but didn’t fail

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

OMAHA, Neb. – I know Mississippi State was planning a parade if the Bulldogs won the College World Series. Maybe they should anyway.
MSU’s 2013 baseball season ended Tuesday night with a 8-0 loss to UCLA in Game 2 of the College World Series finals, certainly a bitter disappointment for coaches, players and fans.
The Bulldogs were tantalizingly close to the program’s first nine title.
This one’s going to sting for a while, and it should. Because losing stinks.
But this can’t be argued: MSU’s season was an unqualified success. When you step back and consider the larger picture, what coach John Cohen has done with this program is remarkable. Five years in, and he has gotten the Bulldogs back among the nation’s elite.
cohen’s goal
During his introductory press conference, on June 7, 2008, Cohen clearly outlined his main goal for this program:
“Anything but Omaha is a disappointment. And Omaha is just not good enough either. We’ve been to Omaha. There’s only one thing that hasn’t been done.”
That one thing will have to wait at least another year, and that’s the thing: Cohen should be back here a few more times. There will be other chances for MSU to hoist that trophy.
Just making it to Omaha won’t be good enough in the future. To Cohen and his team, it wasn’t good enough now.
But really, it is, because it’s the surest sign that the Bulldogs are back.
never say die
What’s most impressive about this run is that as recently as mid-May, few outside the program would’ve seen this coming. MSU had lost a weekend series to rival Ole Miss, and the prospects of hosting an NCAA regional were growing dim.
But it got turned around in a hurry. MSU took two of three from South Carolina, went 3-1 in the SEC Tournament, and hosted a regional for the first time in 10 years.
And the Bulldogs kept going, winning that regional and taking down Virginia in the super regional.
They reached the College World Series finals for the first time.
It didn’t end like they wanted, but these Bulldogs deserve to be celebrated. Bust out the confetti.
Brad Locke (brad.locke@journalinc.com) covers Mississippi State for the Daily Journal and blogs daily at DJournal.com.