By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – Following Sunday’s lopsided loss to in-state rival Ole Miss, Mississippi State coach John Cohen was disgusted with his team’s approach and performance.
The sixth-year coach vowed to outwork every other college baseball team in the second half of the season starting on Monday.
“It’s takeover time for the second half of the season,” Cohen said following Sunday’s loss. “I think we can still play well. There’s a lot left out there for us. There are things like (Sunday) where we’re not representing ourselves very well. We’ve got to move forward and not let that happen.”
Mississippi State responded in a big way Tuesday night in a 16-2 rout of Alcorn State.
The Diamond Dogs dropped to No. 24 in the latest Baseball America poll, falling seven spots after losing its second straight Southeastern Conference series. MSU is 23-15 overall and 7-8 in the SEC, which is tied for fourth in the Western Division.
After finishing as the national runner-up at the College World Series last year, the Bulldogs were ranked as highly as No. 2 in the preseason but have underachieved thus far in 2014.
To get their attention, Cohen had every player shave their facial hair before returning for practice on Monday’s practice.
“Our ultimate goal is to win a national championship, and that’s every year here at Mississippi State,” said first baseman and team co-captain Wes Rea. “I kind of felt like we were getting lackadaisical a little bit, and we had to re-evaluate how bad we wanted to be here and how blessed we are to play in this environment that the people of Starkville create for us.”
State was at 8-7 in conference play at this point last season but won two of their final three SEC series in the month of May to get hot heading into the postseason. Rea is hoping for a similar path this time around.
“We’re a game behind where we were at this point last year, and look how that turned out for us,” Rea said. “We’ve had some problems but we put them behind us. From a long-term standpoint, we’re not far off from where we need to be.”
Mississippi State responded in a big way Tuesday night in a 16-2 rout of Alcorn State. The Bulldogs had 15 hits led by Alex Detz, who went 3-for-4 with a double and four RBIs.
Rea was 2-for-4 with an RBI while Matthew Britton was 2-for-5 with a double.
The Diamond Dogs travel to Missouri this weekend.