- 2018 Record: 37-27 (15-15 in conference)
- Head Coach: Gary Henderson
- Best Batter: Jake Mangum (.353 Batting Average)
- Best Fielder: Tanner Allen (298 Putouts)
- Best Pitcher: Ethan Small (3.11 ERA, 112 strikeouts)
Not that long ago, Mississippi State was one of those teams who if you had picked them to make it to Omaha this year, I would have called you crazy.
After dropping their first three games of the year and winning one, head coach Andy Cannizaro “resigned” in late February after it was discovered he had an extramarital affair with an athletics staff member. Pitching coach Gary Henderson stepped in as the interim head coach and helped the Bulldogs get a handle on it and finish the regular above 500 at 31-24.
After an early exit in the SEC Tournament, Mississippi State was sent to the Tallahassee regional as a two seed and eliminated host Florida State with an amazing walk-off three-run homer. They then held off three-seed Samford in a one-run game. The Bulldogs would then once again face Oklahoma, who they then defeated in two straight games to win the region.
Then in Super Regional play, they were sent to Nashville to face Vanderbilt. In game one, MSU outlasted the Commodores to get a 10-8 win. Vandy squeaked out a 4-3 win in game two, which prompted a winner-take-all game three which went MSU’s way by a score of 10-6.
CLEAR YOUR JUNE! MISSISSIPPI STATE IS HEADED BACK TO OMAHA!— #OmaDawgs ⚾️ (@HailStateBB) June 11, 2018
For the 10th time in program history, the Diamond Dawgs are going to the College World Series!#OmaDawgs | #HailState pic.twitter.com/eNcRQtbdeZ
Mangum has been a huge force behind Mississippi State’s success this year, as well as his other years on campus. In addition to leading the team in batting average, Mangum is one of the more spirited players in the game at this moment in time. An All-American selection, he made Bulldog fans very happy when he announced last week that he would return to MSU for his senior season next year.
Mississippi State also has a ton of young, exciting talent on their roster. Led by the versatile Tanner Allen, this team with eight true freshmen on the roster only furthers MSU fans reasons to be excited about the future.
Looking ahead to the more imminent future though, I can definitely see this team giving people trouble in the CWS. They just don’t die. Look at how they’ve played throughout the tournament. This team’s back has been against the wall the entire season and by now, they seem used to the circumstances and are playing some inspired baseball.
Number To Know: 133
The Bulldogs have been playing baseball in Starksville for 133 seasons now with ten trips to Omaha under their belt.
History Against Oregon State:
The Beavs and Bulldogs have played each other just twice before. Both those games were at the 2013 College World Series where Mississippi State won each, resulting in the Beavers’ elimination.
MSU will play Washington on Saturday at 5 PM PT. The winner of that game will play the winner of OSU vs North Carolina on Monday night.