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It’s Baseball Time Again!

Posted by Kevin on February 19, 2008

No, not MLB.  I could care less about the pros, their steroids, and their multi-million dollar contacts not being enough to support their illegitimate kids and baby-mammas.

I’m talking about baseball that matters.  Baseball that has passion.

College baseball.   Baseball at Mississippi State is something special.  If you are a college baseball fan, do yourself a favor and plan a trip to Starkville for an SEC baseball weekend and spend some time in Left Field Lounge.  There are plenty of imitators around the country, but nobody does it like MSU.

Last year’s team overachieved a little bit, got hot at the right time, and rode their hot streak into Omaha where they went ice cold in going 0-2.  What will the Bulldogs do this  year?  Hard to say.  Coach Ron Polk hasn’t settled on his starting lineup for the season opener just three days away.  That in itself is not a big deal.  Lineups will change a little throughout the season.  But in this case, Polk doesn’t have a lot of experience returning in the field.  Gone from last season’s College World Series team are guys like Mitch Moreland, Jeffrey Rea, Joseph McCaskill, Brian LaNinfa, and Ed Easley.  Those are monster shoes to fill.

The pitching staff, however,  may finally be the strength of the Bulldogs.  All three of the team captains are pitchers (Justin Pigott, John Lalor, Chad Crosswhite).  Polk has not officially announced the weekend starters, but it figures to be Pigott, Crosswhite, and Ricky Bowen.  Pigott and Crosswhite were weekend pitchers last season, while Bowen was a key contributor out of the bullpen.  The bullpen also returns experience in guys like Greg Houston, Tyler Whitney, and Jesse CarverAaron Weatherford should be the closer.

The 2008 Diamond Dogs will rely heavily on the pitching staff to shut down opponents, as we surely will not have the offense we did last year to score enough runs to make up for pitching mistakes.  I’ll go out on a limb early and predict State does just enough to get into regional play as a traveling  3-seed and put a scare into whomever the home standing #1 seed is before bowing out.

State opens the season this weekend at North Florida.


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