Tonight at 6:30, at Trustmark Park in Pearl, the Bulldogs (19-9) battle No. 18 Southern Miss (22-5) in what should easily be their toughest non-conference test of the season. The Golden Eagles have won five in a row and seven of their last eight and are No. 2 in the country in RPI.
“Sometimes you don’t face good teams in the mid-week, so you take it for granted, you might be as focused as you would be against a better team,” MSU senior Nick Vickerson said. “I think playing them is going to get us back on track for this weekend.”
There’s no time to pout about the Athens debacle, but that’s not in the nature of this MSU team anyway. It was a disappointed group that rode the bus back to Starkville on Sunday, but it was also a resolute group.
Because MSU pitched well, and coach John Cohen feels his hitters swung the bats well, and the defense was solid. Things just didn’t go the Bulldogs’ way.
“I told our players, you wouldn’t want to go to Vegas right now, because it’s not coming up too well for us,” Cohen said. “But these things go in cycles, and they went really well for us last weekend, and not so much this weekend. You get swept, and you’re sitting there going, you take away one or two pitches, and any balls come off our bats find any holes, we could sweep them. I really didn’t feel like we were overmatched in any shape, form or fashion.”
MSU will be considered underdogs against USM and, this weekend, No. 4 Florida. Last year’s team might have approached such a stretch of games with a sense of dread. Not this year’s team.
“Last year (losing) happened so much we almost became accustomed to it,” Vickerson said. “Not that we expected it to happen – we went in every time to win last year. But this year I think we’ve got a different team. We were in every game, we were in positions to win every game, so it just didn’t work out for us.”