WP: Ross Mitchell (11-0); LP: Rafael Pineda (5-5); S: Jonathan Holder (16)
Game Ball: Adam Frazier — The Bulldogs’ shortstop went 4 for 5 with two runs scored and an RBI. In two of the three innings MSU scored, Frazier led it off with a single. The performance marked his first four-hit game of the season and his 20th multi-hit game.
Lame Ball: Cole Lankford — Scenes of Bill Buckner in 1986 replayed in the top of the fifth, as the Texas A&M first baseman booted a simpler ground ball, allowing two runs to score — the run differential of Thursday’s game.
The Fat Lady Sang: Top 8, 2 outs — Adam Frazier beats out an infield single to plate Derrick Armstrong. It gives MSU a two-run cushion heading into the final two innings.
Watercooler Stat — It’s the first time since 1991 that Mississippi State swept a conference opponent in the regular season and then beat them again in the SEC Tournament.
Big Number: 8 — The number of wins Mississippi State has in the SEC Tournament the last two years. After going 5-1 last year, the Bulldogs are 3-0 this year.
SEC Tournament: Mississippi State vs Texas A&M
The Skinny: For the second straight game Mississippi State tangles with an opponent with both teams offering the same pitchers from a regular season matchup.
Day three of the SEC Tournament offers up a Kendall Graveman vs Rafael Pineda matchup. The two faced off against each other on April 13. MSU 9-3. The Bulldogs swept the Aggies, outscoring them 27-9.
Against Nolan Belcher and South Carolina on Tuesday, the second time was the charm. Belcher held MSU to one run during the regular season. The Bulldogs scored three off the USC starter on Wednesday.
The game is televised and is on Fox Sports South.
The Starters: Kendall Graveman (5-5, 2.99) vs. Rafael Pineda (5-4, 3.09)
The last time the two squared off, Graveman pieced together one of his best starts of the season. He threw a complete game nine-hitter. He allowed three runs and struck out six. He also threw 110 pitches — a career high.
Graveman hasn’t won a game since then. He picked up tough-luck losses against Auburn and Vanderbilt, where he allowed less than three earned runs in both starts. He then allowed 10 runs in his next two starts.
Graveman settled down a bit and threw arguably his best game (considering the competition) since his outing vs. the Aggies. He pitched into the seventh and allowed two runs on five hits and struck out four against South Carolina.
For Pineda, the Bulldogs represent one of his worst outings of the year. The junior lasted two innings allowing six runs, five earned, on eight hits. He threw 47 pitches. North Carolina knocked Pineda out of the game without him recording an out. The Tar Heels scored three runs, before Pineda left the game.
Since his start against MSU, Pineda is 2-1. He’s allowed five runs in 20 2/3 innings. The one knock during the span is he hasn’t pitched more than six innings.
What’s At Stake: The winner receives a bye into Saturday’s single elimination games. The loser plays Friday against Vanderbilt.
Looking at the bigger picture, Texas A&M needs every win it can get to improve it’s postseason resume. After knocking off Florida and Vanderbilt, a win against another RPI top 10 team could only help the Aggies’ tournament dreams.
After a third win against South Carolina in less than a week, anything that Mississippi State does from here on out might be considered gravy in terms of hosting a regional. But the cherry on top of that gravy (?) could be a win against Vanderbilt.
It’s likely that win or lose, the Bulldogs will see the Commodores. A win pushes them to Saturday, to play the winner of Texas A&M and Vanderbilt. The Aggies already beat the Commodores once this tourney. Vanderbilt hasn’t lost two the same team twice this season.
So There’s That: The last time Mississippi State swept a conference opponent during the regular season and then beat the team again in the SEC Tournament, came in 1991. The Bulldogs swept Auburn then beat the Tigers on the third day of the conference tournament.
There will be no dog for Steven Bench, instead he chose a Bull. Thursday morning the former Penn State quarterback announced on Twitter, he’d play for South Florida next year.
“What it came down to is what I felt was the best place for me to go overall,” Bench said. “Not just football, not just social wise, no just school. I really liked it down there in South Florida.”
Mississippi State joined South Florida as the Bainbridge, Ga. native’s top choices.
“Me going to South Florida is absolutely no knock on Mississippi State at all,” Bench said. “That’s not the way it should be deemed or anything. This is about a lot more than football.”
Bench’s new school is in need of a quarterback. B.J. Daniels, the Bulls signal caller from a year ago, is now in the NFL with San Francisco. The 49ers drafted the South Florida quarterback in the seventh round.
For Mississippi State, fifth-year senior Tyler Russell is cemented as the team’s starter.
“They really went out of their way to do a lot of things and you could notice it. It’s been known that they needed a quarterback,” Bench said. “But at the same time they made me feel like, that they wanted me to be the guy to compete for the spot.”
Mississippi State’s facilities impressed the quarterback. He said they were second to none. The MSU coaching staff also attracted him. But at the end of the day, he had to go with what felt right.
“That’s a huge part of it, especially the second time through for me,” Bench said. “In high school, you can bring a high school kid in those campuses and have a pretty girl show him around and show him all these jerseys and stuff.
“And then they never see that pretty girl again. And you only wear the jerseys once every four years. You can get away with flash like that. This time it was strictly business.”
For Whom the Cowbell Tolls
He has been clocked at 4.25 in the 40 yard dash and excels in both baseball and track in addition to football. He committed to the hometown Ole Miss Rebels back in February and looks to be solid as you would guess. Buford has played running back, wide ...
For Whom the Cowbell Tolls
He has been clocked at 4.25 in the 40 yard dash and excels in both baseball and track in addition to football. He committed to the hometown Ole Miss Rebels back in February and looks to be solid as you would guess. Buford has played running back, wide ...
In February I gave you a list of 30 players to watch in Mississippi, and even had the top 12 players ranked in order. Here I bring you an updated rankings list where I rank the top 25 players in Mississippi in order. Much has changed on the recruiting scene since mid February and these rankings will reflect that.
1. Rod Taylor - Callaway High School - Jackson, MS - OG - 6-4 300
It is by no surprise that Taylor remains as my top player in Mississippi. He has athleticism for days and when you mix athleticism with his size, then you have yourself a future impact player on the SEC level and a potential NFL caliber player. He has added impressive offers(just about everyone has offered him now) since I last told you about him but his leaders remain the same, as it appears to still be an Ole Miss-Alabama battle and Ole Miss appears to have pulled ahead, if only by a small margin.
2. CJ Hampton - Meridian High School - Meridian, MS - S - 6-1 190
Again, no change here at the two spot either. Hampton has impressed at various camps around the Southeast in recent months and even earned an invitation to the Opening in Eugene, Oregon. Georgia, Alabama, and others have come calling on Hampton and have given him an offer. He still remains firm in his commitment to Ole Miss, but that hasn't stopped the rest of the country from trying to garner his services and it appears that Ole Miss will have to hold on tight until next February.
3. Gerri Green - Greenville-Weston High School - Greenville, MS - LB/DE - 6-5 220
Green is a guy that blew up this Spring and it shows in my rankings, as he come from outside my top 12 to take the third spot here. He is a long-rangy linebacker type that some schools have targeted as a defensive end. I think he ends up as an outside linebacker as he is quick and very athletic and has long arms and enough speed to help him in coverage. I think he will make a heck of a rush linebacker on the next level. It appears that his childhood favorite, MSU, maintains their lead for his services, but Ole Miss has come on strong as well as have other SEC suitors recently. Should be an in-state battle.
4. Markell Pack - Purvis High School - Purvis, MS - WR - 6-1 175
Pack recently committed to Florida State. It was his relationship with Tim Brewster, formerly at MSU, that set him over the edge and helped him make the call for FSU. While he is a recent commit and the excitement is still fresh in his commitment, I still expect Pack to stay close to home and play for MSU or Ole Miss. Pack is the first cousin of former Ole Miss linebacker Garry Pack. Pack has good relationships with the staffs at both in-state schools and I expect the them to battle it out for him in the end. Pack is a quick receiver with good size that should be a playmaker on the outside at the next level. He has offers from LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, as well as Ole Miss, MSU and FSU.
5. Breeland Speaks - Callaway High School - Jackson, MS - DT/DE - 6-3 250
Speaks was sixth in my rankings back in February and while that was higher than some thought of him back then, he is a consensus top five or six player in the state now. He has earned offers from the likes of South Carolina, Southern Miss, in addition to MSU and Ole Miss. He played linebacker his junior year but has competed at defensive tackle in recent camps and earned MVP honors at two of them. He was also invited to the Opening. Should be an in-state battle to watch.
6. Sammie Epps - Greenwood High School - Greenwood, MS - TE - 6-4 215
Epps is another guy who has seen his stock skyrocket this spring. He was not on my list of 30 players to watch in February. He was really an unknown until committing to Ole Miss in March. He was then noticed at various camps for his ability to run routes like a wide receiver and his athleticism. Epps out-performed higher ranked players in camps at Louisiana and Memphis. He will be a mismatch at tight end on the next level. He could play wide receiver, but that tells you how much of a weapon he will be at tight end in the spread offense. He will have to become an effective blocker, however.
7. Jesse Jackson - Petal High School - Petal, MS - WR - 6-2 200
Jackson is a guy that saw his name rise a bit after getting an offer and camp invite from Alabama a few months ago. Then Ole Miss came after him. While MSU and Ole Miss like him at wide receiver, Alabama likes him at defensive back. Auburn has made a push lately as well. Jackson has maintained MSU as his leader for a while and says that Ole Miss is number two and Alabama is close behind both of the in-state schools. This could shape up to be a nice battle between Ole Miss and MSU as well.
8. Jamoral Graham - Newton County High School - Decatur, MS - WR/DB - 5-11 165
Graham recently committed to MSU and appears to be solid as he had long favored the Bulldogs before his commitment. Some say Graham is a wide receiver and some say he is a defensive back. While I think he would excel in the slot, I like him at defensive back on the next level. His versatility is a good problem for MSU to have and is a reason he is so valuable.
9. DK Buford - Lafayette County High School - Oxford, MS - RB/WR - 5-11 190
Buford could be the fastest player in Mississippi for the class of 2014. He has been clocked at 4.25 in the 40 yard dash and excels in both baseball and track in addition to football. He committed to the hometown Ole Miss Rebels back in February and looks to be solid as you would guess. Buford has played running back, wide receiver and return man for Lafayette County and next fall he will be the quarterback. He is ranked as a running back but will likely end up at slot receiver on the next level, although he will likely have some carries as well.
10. Devin Voorhies - Wilkinson County High School - Woodville, MS - S - 6-1 180
Voorhies is a guy that I ranked as third best player in Mississippi in my February rankings. While not to say that he has gotten worse, but he has been passed by guys who have had good Spring showings at camps. He showed up to one camp and ran a 40 yard dash that was much slower than he has run in the past and he was rather quiet this Spring. He committed to LSU last summer and that has held up so far. While MSU and Ole Miss continue to recruit him, neither has really pushed hard yet or made him a priority. While I think both schools will take him, I think you will see him stick with LSU and Ole Miss and MSU will be fine with that. He lives in a very pro-LSU part of Mississippi and he lives within an hour of Baton Rouge.
11. Alfred Dickens - Olive Branch High School - Olive Branch, MS - LB/S - 6-1 200
Dickens is a guy that has become even more of a priority for Ole Miss and MSU this Spring. MSU likes him as a safety while Ole Miss likes him as a linebacker/safety hybrid. Dickens has been recruited hard by MSU for a while, but has family connections to Ole Miss as he has a sister there now. This could shape up to be one of the most exciting MSU/Ole Miss recruiting battles of 2014.
12. Ronald Walker - Callaway High School - Jackson, MS - S - 6-3 195
Walker is another player from Callaway High School that has major SEC interest and is currently an Ole Miss commitment. He committed to the Rebels back in December of 2012. Walker is a long, rangy safety that is very physical. He has the frame to add more weight and will likely do so as he is known to be a workout warrior. Plays wide receiver and safety for Callaway. He could even eventually grow into a linebacker.
13. AJ Moore - Bassfield High School - Bassfield, MS - S/LB - 6-1 190
Moore has an Ole Miss and Southern Miss offer and heavy MSU interest.
14. Aeris Williams - West Point High School - West Point, MS - RB - 6-1 210
Williams has long been considered a heavy MSU lean and it is about when, not if, for the West Point star to commit to the Bulldogs.
15. Tyler Putman - Desoto Central High School - Southaven, MS - OT - 6-5 285
Putman is a quick-footed offensive lineman with basketball type athleticism that is committed to Ole Miss.
16. Dayall Harris - Callaway High School - Jackson, MS - WR - 6-3 185
Tall, lean receiver that is also well known for his track accomplishments. Fourth member of the Callaway crew and also an Ole Miss commit.
17. Trey Brown - Ackerman High School - Ackerman, MS - DT - 6-4 265
Brown holds offers from Ole Miss and MSU and a battle should ensue. He grew up just 20 minutes from the campus of MSU, so if they decide to go after him hard, he should be a dawg.
18. Grant Harris - Clinton High School - Clinton, MS - DT/DE - 6-4 260
Harris holds offers from Miami, West Virginia and MSU among others. I would venture to say that MSU leads for Harris and I expect him to be a Bulldog.
19. Genard Avery - Grenada High School - Grenada, MS - LB - 6-1 230
Avery is a big, physical and incredibly athletic linebacker. One of the top linebackers in the state in a class that is full of good linebackers. If things come together for Avery, I expect him to get some offers in the future. He will shine during the camp season.
20. Shareef White - Grenada High School - Grenada, MS - LB/S - 6-1 220
White is another linebacker from Grenada. He also plays safety some and could be a safety at the next level. He will likely have to prove himself at camps in a deep year in Mississippi for linebackers.
21. Dontavian Lee - Forrest County Agricultural High School - Brooklyn, MS - RB - 6-0 200
Lee is one of the best backs in the state this year and has already committed to Mississippi State. Although he already has his offer and has accepted it, I still expect him to come to camp and show out at MSU's Big Dawg camp.
22. CJ Moore - Bassfield High School - Bassfield, MS - S - 6-1 175
Moore is the twin brother of AJ Moore. Moore, like his twin brother could end up in the defensive backfield on the next level. He is a quarterback on the high school level for Bassfield.
23. Ethan Frith - North Pike Senior High School - Summit, MS - OT - 6-7 315
Frith has interest from MSU and Ole Miss, but his first offer came from Florida State. His feet could a question for the SEC on the next level, but he is still being looked at hard by Ole Miss and MSU.
24. Chase Johnson - Olive Branch High School - Olive Branch, MS - OC - 6-4 260
Johnson is a guy that has seen his stock rise recently since being moved to center from tackle for Olive Branch. MSU has ramped up their interest in Chase and Ole Miss has as well. UAB became his first offer just a few weeks ago.
25. LaDarius Gallion - West Point High School - West Point, MS - DT - 6-4 320
Gallion is another West Point player that received a lot of early interest but has seen his stock slip as other in-state defensive tackles have risen. He is still a solid prospect and I expect him to end up a bulldog. He will impress come camp season.
This is my current top 25 in Mississippi to date. As I have mentioned in the past, this list is not concrete and is subject to change and likely will. This list will be updated following the summer camp circuit.
Demarcus Henderson knew it was coming.
“I told you. Late in the season I heat up for some reason,” Henderson said. “I don’t know why but I’m thankful, I’m blessed about it.”
The Mississippi State junior went 3 for 3 against South Carolina in the Bulldogs’ 5-3 Wednesday win in the SEC Tournament. Henderson, drove in three of MSU’s five runs.
Even when things varied from the plan, Henderson converted. In the top of the ninth, the Bulldogs already held 4-3 lead after Wes Rea’s single. Henderson attempted to lay down a bunt on a suicide squeeze.
The Gamecocks sniffed it out and tagged out Alex Detz coming home. But Henderson made the most of the at bat, singling to left and plating Pirtle.
“I was kind of mad. It was a tough play. We practice that every day. That’s something that you have to get there, at least foul it off. I tried my hardest to,” Henderson said. “But the one thing you can’t do about that situation is get pissed off and get mad and then try to do too much. I tried to stay within myself.”
In converting the negative into a positive, Henderson, who played right field Wednesday night, picked up his third RBI of the game. It was his fifth in the last three games. In the previous 45 games, Henderson tallied 13.
“It just happens like that for me for some reason. I start off fast and I kind of struggle a little bit, because I get so pumped, I try to do too much,” Henderson said said.
Through the first 18 games of the season, Henderson racked up 15 hits. In the next 25 games of the season, Henderson managed just 12. But to close the year, through the final eight, including Wednesday’s game, the Waynesboro native has 11.
“Everything’s just quiet for me at the plate sometimes. I don’t really hear much,” Henderson said. “I see the ball. The ball is like a beach ball. Everything is just slowed down for me.”
Key to Gentry’s success
Myles Gentry burst onto the scene against South Carolina, throwing 5 2/3 innings and 93 pitches to bail out the Mississippi State and its bullpen.
Gentry pitched well earlier in the season, but struggled against left-handed hitting.
“The whole issue was the left-hander,” Mississippi State coach John Cohen said. “How would he get the left-hander out?”
Against South Carolina, Gentry retired 6 of 8 left-handers he faced. He tallied three strike outs and walked two.
“He took something off his fastball,” Cohen said. “He usually stays at 85 to 87, which is pretty good velocity for a down-under guy. But what we wanted him to do was to get down in the 70s with that, just to plant something different in the mind of the left-hander.”
College Football. Follow
Former Callaway offensive lineman Jocquell Johnson gave Mississippi State a verbal commitment Wednesday. The Bulldogs showed an interested in the 6-foot-5, 305 pound lineman since high school.
Johnson reciprocated the interest giving a verbal while drawing interest from Ole Miss and Jackson State.
Check out John Talty’s story for more information.
You might think that just because college football coaches seem serious all the time and that they yell out plays and throw visors for a living, that they don't know how to have fun and relax and do normal things like the rest of us in their free time.
Well, if you do think that, you'd be wrong my friends.
Dan Mullen and Urban Meyer, best buds and noted former Tim Tebow mentors, took some time out of their extremely busy schedules recently to do what any other man their age might do on a free weekend -- attend a Jimmy Buffett concert. I would imagine the two exchanged war stories, talked about what recruits have the best glutteus maximus', and then they looked at Ohio State's 2013 schedule, and they laughed, and laughed, and laughed. One can also imagine (and hope) that at some point our beloved coach Mullen took the stage to sing along with Mr. Jim E. Buffett to his famed song "Why don't we get drunk and ....", only coach Mullen sang a slightly different version of the song, "why don't we get drunk and X-route Z-fly split diamond interchange option on 2". The crowd hated it, but he and Meyer, well they enjoyed it quite a bit.
According to Busted Coverage, the two stopped for the above quick photo op at what is presumed to be the Atlanta stop on the tour, which took place on April 30th, according to Jim's website.
ALSO: Bunkie Perkins made this impressive list of songs for you that will be featured on the duo's forthcoming summatyme album, y'all.
[image via Busted Coverage]
Steven Bench is taking his talents to South…Florida. The former Penn State quarterback announced on Twitter Thursday morning that he choose to transfer to South Florida.
I’ve decided to attend the University of South Florida and become a bull!! #DoSomething
— Steven Bench (@SBench12) May 23, 2013
Bench narrowed his search to Mississippi State and South Florida. North Carolina State dropped out of the running after Arkansas quarterback Brandon Mitchell transferred to the Wolfpack.
The Bulls have an immediate opening at quarterback after the program lost its 2012 starter, BJ Daniels to the NFL draft. The San Francisco 49ers selected Daniels in the seventh round this year.
Due to the sanctions imposed upon Penn State, Bench can transfer without having to sit out a year.
Had Bench chosen Mississippi State, he likely would have sat out for the 2013 season, behind starter Tyler Russell. One of the reasons Bench left Penn State was have an opportunity to compete for the starting position.
As a freshman, Bench played in two games for the Nittany Lions last year. He attempted eight passes and completed two.
Coming out of Cairo High School in Georgia, Scout.com ranked Bench as a two-star prospect.
... Indiana Hoosiers, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Massachusetts Minutemen, Michigan State Spartans, Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, Mississippi State Bulldogs, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Northern Illinois ...
Prescod has received offers from the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Louisville Cardinals, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, Appalachian State Mountaineers, East Carolina Pirates, Florida International Panthers, ...
HOOVER, Ala. — Myles Gentry got the nod from pitching coach Butch Thompson with one out in the fourth. One South Carolina Gamecock stood on first, another on second. The right field scoreboard at the Hoover Met glared one out as the freshman jogged to the mound. USC already plated three in the inning and looked to take the lead with a fourth.
Gentry struck out both batters he faced in his first outing since May 11 against Ole Miss. The two quick two outs marked his longest performance since March 26. Yet Gentry came out for the fifth.
“Well in high school I was a starter,” Gentry said. “In this arm-slot I can throw, it doesn’t bother me much.”
He worked around an error in the sixth that pushed runners to second and third. By the end of the inning, he walked back to the dugout, a three still glowing next to South Carolina’s score.
In the sixth, South Carolina led the inning off with a single. Gentry erased that with strikeout and a double play. The Gamecocks tried to create some offense in the seventh with a two-out double. The true freshman never wavered, retiring the next batter with a line out to short.
“I knew I needed to stay in for a while, so I just had to keep the ball down,” Gentry said. “Just let my defense work for it.”
But his defense didn’t have to work. In his 5 2/3 innings of work, he struck out eight and threw 93 pitches. The innings pitched and pitches thrown established new career highs. His eight Ks, tied his high as a Bulldog.
What turned out to be the final two innings of the game, Mississippi State coach John Cohen stayed with what was working.
“We wanted to ride him a little bit,” Cohen said. “We knew to get to the next day, to have a chance to win this sucker, we knew one guy was going to have to be stretched-out out of the bullpen. So that was Myles tonight. We were just going to win or lose with him.”
For the third time his in career, Gentry pitched at least four innings. In the three appearances, the true freshman threw a total of 14 innings, allowing three hits while striking out 16. In his previous two outings, which went longer than four innings, he did not allow a hit.
Wednesday, Mississippi State didn’t need a perfect performance, but one that could chew up innings after Tuesday’s 17-inning game. The Bulldogs nearly got both.
“I knew I was going to go as long as I could,” Gentry said. “He’d keep me out there as long as I did my job.”
Cohen’s black eye
As Mississippi State continues to rack up the wins, John Cohen continues to get face time on TV. So far during the SEC Tournament, when Cohen makes an appearance, he’s doing so with a black eye, that gets more visible by the day.
Wednesday night the truth came out.
“It was actually a binder against South Carolina (in the regular season),” Cohen said. “A binder caught me right there.
“It was Tyler Bratton, he threw his hands up in the air, and I ran right into it. So it was totally my fault.”
WP: Myles Gentry (4-0); LP: Adam Westmoreland (7-2)
Game Ball: Myles Gentry — The true freshman established new career highs in innings pitched and pitches. He tied a career high with eight strikeouts. In 5 2/3 innings Gentry allowed three hits and no runs.
Lame Ball: Adam Westmoreland — After earning South Carolina’s only win against MSU in Starkville, the senior allowed two runs in two innings of work.
Fat Lady Sang: Top 9, two outs — Demarcus Henderson singles to left field for his third RBI of the game. It scores Brett Pirtle and puts Mississippi State up 5-3.
Watercooler Stat: Demarcus Henderson has five RBIs in his last three games. He totaled 13 in the previous 45.
Big Number: 1 — The number of arms MSU coach John Cohen used out of the bullpen, after turning to five in the 17-inning marathon win on Tuesday.
I'm starting to think that maybe MSU should just play every game at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
Following a 2-1 win over Missouri last night in a 17 inning affair, Mississippi State came back to the diamond at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium this evening to take on South Carolina for the fourth time in seven days. The good luck that MSU experienced in their series win over the Gamecocks just days ago continued tonight, as freshman Myles Gentry and the bats of Demarcus Henderson and Wes Rea powered MSU to a 5-3 win tonight.
State was able to come out and get on top first, as they scored two runs in the top of the first inning on back to back singles by Wes and Demarcus. Starter Luis Pollorena would mostly cruise for MSU through the first three innings, and a Demarcus Henderson RBI sac-fly in the third would push MSU's lead out to 3-0.
Things got a bit dicey for State in the fourth after back to back singles were followed up by a walk to load the bases for USC. A bases loaded walk followed by another single was enough to bring the game to a 3-3 tie, and Luis was lifted in favor of MSU freshman Myles Gentry. Now, this would be the point where many of us would protest bringing in Gentry in a big moment, but to the freshman's credit, he was absolutely spectacular in 5.2 innings of dazzling relief.
With things settled down on the mound behind Gentry, State and the Gamecocks would see their 3-all tie go into the ninth, where I have to think the entire media began begging for sweet mercy for someone, anyone to score to avoid another all-night affair. And that wish was granted as -- you guessed it -- Wes Rea and Demarcus Henderson came through again. In the top of the ninth, Adam Frazier led off with a single, followed by a single from Alex Detz as well. After Hunter Renfroe popped out, Brett Pirtle was issued a walk, loading the bases for the big fella. He delivered the single that broke up the tie, and Henderson would add one of his own, pushing the game to a 5-3 MSU advantage.
At that point, the question began whether or not John Cohen would choose to use closer Jonathan Holder or not. Holder threw in Tuesday night's marathon, so there was some doubt. But any questions about Holder's need in tonight's game were erased by Gentry, as he came back out in the ninth to finish what he started, getting three fly ball outs to end the game and seal the MSU win.
Again, a huge hat tip to the freshman Gentry -- he was spectacular tonight. Last year we saw this happen for MSU -- pitchers stepping up when they were needed -- and Gentry continued that trend in this year's tournament tonight. He could prove to be a big asset in MSU's postseason run if he can continue to pitch at the level he did tonight. Well done, Myles. Here's his final line: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 8 K's, 3 BBs
Hats also go off to Demarcus and Wes -- they powered this offense tonight. Demarcus has actually had quite a large amount of success against the Gamecocks this year, as our own Robbie Faulk notes:
Demarcus in his four games against USC: 8-15, 5 RBI, 3 runs #clutch— Robbie Faulk (@robbiefaulk) May 23, 2013
Final lines on Henderson and Rea for tonight
Demarcus Henderson -- 2 for 3, 3 RBI's
Wes Rea -- 3 for 4, 2 RBI's
The red hot MSU squad will head back out to the Hoover Met tomorrow to face the Texas A&M Aggies, who just so happened to have themselves a pretty good day at the park today too, knocking off #1 Vanderbilt 5-0. Two teams getting hot at the right time, should be a fun game to watch. Kendall Graveman will get the rock for State tomorrow, and first pitch is set for 30 minutes after the 4:30 game, which will pit LSU against rival Arkansas.
Former Penn State quarterback Steven Bench told The Clarion-Ledger Wednesday night, he plans to make his decision on where he’ll play football next year on Thursday.
Mississippi State is on Bench’s short list of schools. After working out with renowned quarterback coach George Whitfield in San Diego, Bench visited South Florida, North Carolina State and Mississippi State. The Georgia native was scheduled to come to Starkville Monday.
With Arkansas backup quarterback Brandon Mitchell transferring to NC State, Bench’s choices might be narrowed to USF and MSU, according to the Commercial Dispatch.
The freshman decided to leave Penn State after one season with the Nittany Lions. He played in two games for Penn State last year. He attempted eight passes and completed two.
Due to the post-Jerry Sandusky sanctions put on Penn State by the NCAA, Bench can transfer without having to sit out a season.
A look at "the catch" -- or lack thereof -- that cost MSU two runs against South Carolina in the 2013 SEC Baseball Tournament.
SEC Tournament: Mississippi State vs. South Carolina
The Skinny: It’s the fourth time in seven days that Mississippi State and South Carolina play each other. The two concluded the regular season in Starkville. The Bulldogs took two of three from the Gamecocks.
The Bulldogs have some experience with this. Last year MSU swept Kentucky at home to finish the regular season, then played the Wildcats twice in the SEC Tournament.
The Starters: LHP Sr. Luis Pollorena (6-3, 4.11) vs. LHP Sr. Nolan Belcher (7-5, 2.17)
The two squared off in game one of the three game series in Starkville. Belcher outperformed Pollorena pitching into the seventh and allowing a run on nine hits. MSU still won the game 5-4
Pollorena on the other hand went 4 2/3 innings allowing four runs on five hits. In his last five starts the southpaw has flip-flopped outings into the sixth, with outings ending in the fifth.
Pollorena’s last five starts:
4/18 vs Auburn 3 1/3
4/26 at Vanderbilt 7 1/3
5/4 vs Alabama 4 1/3
5/11 at Ole Miss 5 2/3
5/16 vs South Carolina 4 2/3.
With MSU coach John Cohen using five arms out of the bullpen in last night’s 17-inning game, the Bulldogs need Pollorena’s pattern to continue with a start that at least qualifies him for a decision.
Belcher has pitched into the sixth in every one of his starts this season. The most earned runs he’s allowed is four — once. He allowed four runs to Texas A&M and Arkansas as well but in both game only two were earned.
What’s at Stake: At this point in the season, both teams are who they are. A loss places one of the team’s with a more difficult road to the championship, but looking past that, it shouldn’t hurt their Regional seeding.
More specifically for MSU, the win against Missouri should cement the Bulldogs in the top 10 of the RPI. At this point, my opinion is, Mississippi State’s resume can only be bolstered and not detracted.
Then again, I’m not on the committee.
So There’s That: On this date in 1965 Mississippi State defeats Auburn in the SEC Championship series earning their first of four under Paul Gregory.
There’s Also That: the Bulldogs’ reaction on Twitter to last night’s win:
Holy game. Thank God we won! #hailstate
— Sam Frost (@samfrost_8) May 22, 2013
After a long hard game we pulled it off #hailstate
— Jonathan Holder (@Jholder14) May 22, 2013
Thanks everyone on all the nice words! It was a great team win! Long but great win! Time to get rested up and get ready to take on SC!
— Will Cox (@Will_Cox38) May 22, 2013
Dear family: please refrain from calling and asking who won when you wake up. #worldwideinterweb #faceplant #hailstate
— Nelle Cohen (@nellecohen) May 22, 2013
Good win after 17 innings #hailstate @jholder14 instagram.com/p/ZmoJanOW10/
— Jacob Lindgren (@JLindgren19) May 22, 2013
On Wednesday Mississippi State landed its fourth commitment of the 2014 class. While Jocquell Johnson is a junior college guy(plays for Copiah Lincoln Community College), this is a prospect that has had the attention of Dan Mullen and company since high school. Johnson played on an offensive line in high school that included 2012 Ole Miss signees Justin Bell and Aaron Morris and 2014 prospect Rod Taylor(top player in Mississippi for 2014). Johnson was believed to be an MSU lean in high school and the Dawgs were very interested, but Johnson instead had to go the junior college route, but will now get his chance to suit up in maroon.
Johnson is a guy that has an ideal frame for one of the tackle positions at the next level as he stands at 6-6 300 pounds. In high school Johnson mostly played right tackle and has played left tackle for Co-Lin. MSU could use Johnson at either tackle spot and he will be much needed as an instant impact guy to fill depth along the offensive line. Johnson is ranked as a three star by scout.com. 247sports.com ranks him as a three star as well and has him as an 84 on a scale to 100 and the 30the best junior college player in the country. Rivals.com has yet to rank Johnson.
Johnson was also a participant in the MS/AL all star classic in high school and was one of the more impressive offensive lineman at the event.
My Take on Johnson:
I think it was important for MSU to get a JUCO OL or two in this class and there were two good ones in Mississippi(Avery Gennessy from Southaven now at East MS CC still available) this class. Johnson was clearly MSU's top target as far as JUCO OL goes and they locked him up early. I expect him to get a fourth star before it is all said and done and I feel that is an accurate reflection of his talent. I really like Johnson's frame. He has really become a strong lineman in junior college and an SEC weight room will do nothing but improve that area for him. I like his feat in pass protection, as they are very quick. He is a very effective drive blocker in the run game and run blocking is his strength. I think he will help MSU as he will be able to man either tackle spot in the 2014 season. This is a big pickup and possibly the most important commitment of the class to date. It's important to recruit offensive lineman each year and if you get one that can contribute immediately, it just makes that pickup even more valuable.
Memphis Official Athletic Site
Harry Schuh, who became a legend at offensive tackle while playing for Billy J. Murphy's Tiger football teams in the early 1960s, died on May 20 at his home in Memphis, Tennessee. Schuh, born September 25, 1942, came to Memphis in the ... During the ...
In the midst of a 17 inning game, the media, fans and players have to keep themselves occupied. Mississippi State began different rally dances for each at bat. Well, I sent this tweet out, “Have the Cavs selected Nerlens Noel yet? #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends” and it took off.
Thanks for everyone who joined in. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. Here are a few of my favorite.
Nerlens Noel leaving Cleveland to sign with the Heat #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends @mikebbonner
— Patrick Dillinger (@cpdillinger) May 22, 2013
@mikebbonner Derrick Rose plays in first game after torn ACL #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— Daniel Montgomery (@dalemo830) May 22, 2013
Lebron goes back to the Cavs @mikebbonner #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— Parks Douglass (@SonOfMumford31) May 22, 2013
@mikebbonner Tebow lands a job! #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— Dan Herod (@MontgomerySO3) May 22, 2013
Tony Romo will win a Super Bowl. #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends @mikebbonner
— J.C. Dickinson (@jsizzlesports) May 22, 2013
another Titus Young arrest #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— Joey Morgan (@joey_morgan1) May 22, 2013
@stricklinmsu Davis Wade stadium expansion will be finished! #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— William Holcomb (@will_holcomb31) May 22, 2013
@kyleniblett Launch of the SEC Network #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— Scott Stricklin (@stricklinMSU) May 22, 2013
@mikebbonner all of antonio cromarties kids finish college #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— Russell Goodman (@RusBus42) May 22, 2013
Manti T’eo sees his girlfriend #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— Jordan Cowart (@gosaints311) May 22, 2013
Keanu Reeves wins an Oscar for the 4th Matrix movie. #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends @mikebbonner
— Clark Cutrer (@ClarkCutrer) May 22, 2013
@mikebbonner #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameendsBobby Knight wears a tie
— John Sparks (@SparksMSU) May 22, 2013
I will fall asleep holding my phone.#thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— Chris Hussey (@the_HUSSEY_) May 22, 2013
@mikebbonner a non SEC team will win a college football championship #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— NEWMAN (@JNEWMAN_5) May 22, 2013
@mikebbonner Kanye West will let Taylor Swift finish a speech #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— Andrew Francis (@ajf102) May 22, 2013
The Marlins sell out a home game #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— Jordan Cowart (@gosaints311) May 22, 2013
Ole Miss officially adopts The School Up North as their school name. #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends @mikebbonner
— Peyton Hill (@sPeytonHill) May 22, 2013
Mississippi States’ dug out will run out of rally ideas #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends @mikebbonner
— NEWMAN (@JNEWMAN_5) May 22, 2013
The SEC’s new TV contract will run out #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends @mikebbonner
— Bo Reid (@boreid4) May 22, 2013
Missouri will rejoin the big 12 #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— lesdykes (@lesdykes18) May 22, 2013
President Justin Bieber announced that the game was now in the 47,495th inning. #hailstate #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— Joe M. Turner (@turnermagic) May 22, 2013
At this rate I will go to work. #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— John Clark (@bellringer199) May 22, 2013
World peace #thingsthatwillhappenbeforethisgameends
— David Faulk (@David_Faulk) May 22, 2013
For all of them, click here.
In Mississippi State and Missouri’s marathon game, the 17 innings might have been the least bizarre number — although it was the longest SEC Tournament game played in Hoover. It also tied for the longest game in the history of SEC postseason tournament of any kind.
What a way for Missouri to make its SEC postseason debut.
Here are some other fun facts and crazy numbers from Tuesday’s Mississippi State/Missouri Matchup.
467 — The combined number of pitches thrown in the game, 319 were strikes. Missouri actually had two pitchers — starter Rob Zastryzny and Keaton Steele — eclipse the 100 pitch plateau. Zastryzny threw 124, Steele 105. For Mississippi State, Chad Girodo hurled the most of any Bulldog with 46.
36 — The number players used in the game. Mississippi State saw 23 players either pitch, hit or run. The Bulldogs used six pitchers, four pinch runners and three pinch hitters. Missouri used just three pitches in 17 innings, and pinch hit once.
4 hours, 39 minutes — The length of the 17-inning affair. Can you imagine if it was the 9:30 a.m. game, and how that would have complicated the rest of the day? It marked the longest game of the season for MSU. It’s actually on the second longest of the season for Missouri. It played a 15 innings game with Florida on April 20 that lasted 4:57 the longest in school history.
240 — The number of times I tweeted before Twitter kicked me out.
Proof! Twitter cut me off! twitter.com/MikeBBonner/st…
— Michael Bonner(@MikeBBonner) May 22, 2013
133 — The number of plate appearances combined for the two teams. Adam Frazier, Hunter Renfroe, Brett Pirtle, Wes Rea and C.T. Bradford all came to the plate 8 times, new career highs for all of them. Every Missouri starter except Jake Ivory and Brannon Champagne came to the plate seven times. Every Mizzou starter except Ivory and Shane Segoiva at least tied their career high in at bats.
29 — The combined number of runners left on base. MSU left 19, Missouri 10.
47 — The number of days Mitch Slauter last tallied a hit before his single ended the game early Wednesday morning.
14 — The number of innings MSU held Missouri scoreless after the Tigers scored one in the third.
11 — The number of Innings Missouri held Mississippi State scoreless before the Bulldogs scored in the 17th.
It’s the longest drought for two teams in SEC Tournament history.
5 — Then number of players who saw their averages drop by at least four points. Here are the before and afters.
Missouri Started Line Finished
Dan Opel .298 1 for 7 .292
Keaton Steele .281 1 for 6 .276
Dylan Kelly .292 1 for 7 .287
Logan Pearson .259 1 for 6 .254
C.T. Bradford .308 0 for 6 .303
Bradford was the only starter for either team, with at least five at bats and not get a hit. Demarcus Henderson was the only other starter without a hit, but he only had four at bats. Missouri’s Shane Segovia went 2 for 6 and saw his average jump six points from .217 to .223. MSU’s Wes Rea also so a jump in average. His 2 for 6 performance rose his average from .277 to .280.
State was able to get past Missouri in Day one of the SEC Tournament, 2-1. Mitch Slauter came off the bench to catch the last few innings in relief of Nick Ammirati and he got a base hit in the bottom of the 17th to score Kyle Hann (who was pinch running for Wes Rea).
Slauter hasn't played much since his broken hand but he brought his bat Tuesday night. He nearly ended the game in the 13th inning with a long fly ball to left, but the big ballpark in Hoover held it in.
Missouri's left handed starter, Z_______, pitched really well. He went nine innings only allowing the one run - a Hunter Renfroe single that scored Derrick Armstrong in the 5th inning.
State got a bunch of runners on base during the extra innings but just couldn't muster a run. Missouri, on the other hand, never really mounted any sort of rally against State's bullpen which went 13.2 innings of scoreless relief. It was the usual suspects: Girodo, Bracewell, Holder and Ross Mitchell. But throw Will Cox in as well as he finished the final three innings picking up the win.
John Cohen will have some decisions to make. He did what he had to do in pitching his best guys to make sure he won this single-elimination game. A loss would have meant MSU's first vs. a sub-top 100 RPI team. Girodo went 2.2, Bracewell 2.1, Holder 2.2 and MItchell 3.0. Who is available Wednesday vs. South Carolina.
Luis Pollorena will get the start vs. the Gamecocks. We'll need him to go deep, maybe into the 7th inning at least. I don't see how Ross Mitchell could be used - he pitched in all three games of the last series including 4.2 IP in Game 3. Maybe Girodo could get an out or two, and Holder could probably get a one-inning save, but the bullpen has been taxed early....and we don't want to over-use them in Hoover in preparation for the Regional.
And what about the position players? Renfroe, Bradford, Frazier, Pirtle and Rea basically played two baseball games last night. Should Cohen give one or more of these players the night off? I probably would. I may give two of them Game 2 off, and then two of them Game 3 off.
Game 2 vs. USC will be at the same time (approx. 8:00 cst) on Wednesday night.