Since I rang in the new year in Memphis at the Liberty Bowl, it wasn’t until the last few days that I have had time to reflect back on the past year in Mississippi State sports.
I have been fortunate enough to cover a lot of memorable moments and games during past calendar year. I decided to rank the Top 10 moments in Bulldog athletics in 2013.
10, 17 innings in Hoover: It took nearly five hours but MSU was able to outlast Missouri 2-1 in the opening round of the SEC Baseball Tournament. Mitch Slauter flared a walk-off RBI single into right-center scoring Kyle Hann for in the bottom of the 17th inning.
The Diamond Dogs went on to win two more games before falling to Vanderbilt in the semifinals.
9, Overtime win in Arkansas: State had its backs against the wall needing to win its final two regular season games to advance to a bowl game.
Nickoe Whitley saved the game with a fourth quarter strip which set up Damian Williams 25-yard touchdown on the first play of overtime.
Taveze Calhoun sealed the win with an interception.
8, McDonald on the links: Ally McDonald had a monumental year for the women’s golf team.
McDonald helped lead the Lady Bulldogs become the first team from Mississippi to participate in the NCAA Championships. The Fulton native won the NCAA Central Regional, North and South Women’s amateur and Old Waverly Bulldog Invitational.
7, Ray snaps skid: It was not a banner year during Rick Ray’s first season coaching the men’s basketball team. But Ray was able to garner his first signature win 73-67 at home over rival Ole Miss to snap a 13-game losing streak. The Bulldogs went on to win their home finale against Auburn and a first round SEC Tournament game against South Carolina.
6, Super Regional victory: Mississippi State punched its ticket to the College World Series taking two games over Virginia in the Charlottesville Super Regional. The Diamond Dogs held a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 2 before it was suspended due to rain. MSU held on to win 6-5 the next day.
5, Schaefer upsets Georgia: New head coach Vic Schaefer notched his signature win 50-38 over No. 11 Georgia in the final home game of the 2012-13 season. State held UGA to just 18.2-percent shooting from the field sending its lone senior Darriel Gaynor out with a win on senior night.
4, Routing Rice: The Bulldogs appeared in a bowl game for the fourth straight season for the first time in school history. Although State fell behind Rice 7-0 at the start, the Bulldogs responded with 44 unanswered points to win the Liberty Bowl handily. Dak Prescott and Jameon Lewis put on a show offensively and State’s defense dominated the Conference USA champion.
3, Regional returns: Postseason baseball returned to Dudy Noble Field hosting the Starkville Regional. Mississippi State came out victorious with a 3-1 record during the Regional that featured Central Arkansas, South Alabama and Mercer.
2, Overtime Egg Bowl: The Bulldogs secured bowl eligibility with a 17-10 overtime victory over Ole Miss reclaiming the Golden Egg Trophy. Prescott led a storybook comeback in the fourth quarter and scored the go-ahead touchdown in overtime. Whitley again forced a fumble on the final play securing the win.
1, Omaha! The Diamond Dogs concluded the best season in school history with a 13-day stay at the College World Series. MSU enjoyed two wins over Oregon State and another over Indiana advancing to the championship series against UCLA. The Bruins claimed the national title in two games but the experience in Omaha will be cherished for many years to come by the maroon and white faithful.
Logan Lowery (firstname.lastname@example.org) covers Mississippi State for the Daily Journal.