My, how fortunes can turn in the SEC. Mississippi State has now seen both sides of said fortunes the past two weekends: After sweeping Auburn, the Bulldogs went to Georgia and dropped all three games, capped by a 4-1 loss Sunday.
Against Auburn, MSU (19-9, 4-5 SEC) was a buzzsaw at the plate, batting .387 and scoring 27 runs – 24 of them with two outs. At Georgia, the Bulldogs managed only five runs on 19 hits (.200 average). It’s not like UGA has bad pitching; in fact, as I wrote Friday, it’s much improved from last season. Georgia’s ERA is 4.45 now.
“As many balls that fell through for us against Auburn, it just didn’t happen for us this weekend,” coach John Cohen said. “In two of the three games we had less strikeouts, more balls in play, more ground balls, more line drives than our opponent, and none of them seemed to fall. Friday night we didn’t play well, and their left-hander (Alex Wood) was a big part of it.“
Speaking of pitching, MSU’s was strong for most of the weekend. Devin Jones had his best Friday outing of the SEC season (two runs in 5.0 innings), Nick Routt got in 3.1 innings of work, and the bullpen had an ERA of 3.72 on the weekend.
“I thought our pitching was outstanding this weekend,” said Cohen. “Honestly, if you take three pitches out of the whole weekend, maybe even just two, it’s flawless.”
The good news is, MSU is tied for second in the Western Division with Ole Miss, three games back of Alabama. After a trip to Pearl to battle Southern Miss on Tuesday, State returns home this weekend – Super Bulldog Weekend – to host Florida. So, it doesn’t get any easier.
“Nobody in our dugout is down,” Cohen said. “We’re disappointed, but nobody’s down, because I think they all realize how capable we are, and we’re excited about the week coming up.”