Coleman on MSU: Of course Bulldogs did it again

Joel Coleman
Staff Writer

Of course they did.

That’s all I could think on Saturday as I watched Elijah MacNamee slug an improbable walk-off three-run homer to continue Mississippi State’s season. Even down to their final strike against the No. 7 national seed Florida State Seminoles on their home field, the Bulldogs wouldn’t give in.

At this point, who would expect anything less out of this MSU group? Shame on me or anyone else that counted them out Saturday. Down 2-0 in the ninth inning to the Seminoles? Big deal. So what?
This is a Bulldog team that apparently isn’t fazed by anything you throw at them. Just think back to all this club has overcome.

Mississippi State began a promising 2018 season at instate rival Southern Miss. Remember what happened in Hattiesburg? The Bulldogs got swept in pretty ugly fashion.

If that wasn’t bad enough, they lost their head coach two days later. Andy Cannizaro abruptly resigned. My audience here is likely to remember the reasons and rumors behind all that, and there’s no need to drag all that back up here, but long story short, that was another blow for MSU.

The Bulldogs were 0-3. They were just let down by their coach making – in Cannizaro’s own words – “poor decisions.”

Who would have blamed a bunch of college kids if they phoned it in? These guys could have focused more on their next date or maybe just next season. Not these Dogs.

Yes, February and March was a struggle. MSU was under .500 heading into April and lost seven of its first nine Southeastern Conference games. Yet interim head coach Gary Henderson and the boys persevered again.

The Bulldogs caught fire down the stretch. They beat the country’s top teams like those squads were just a bunch of walk-ons at a no-name junior college. MSU rallied to have a 15-15 record in league play. Suddenly, the Bulldogs were in the postseason for the 37th time in school history.

That looked like all the glory this year’s MSU squad would get though. The Bulldogs were embarrassed by Oklahoma in the first game of the Tallahassee Regional when the Sooners destroyed them 20-10 on Friday, then came Saturday as Mississippi State was facing elimination with the unenviable task of playing the host school and facing its ace pitcher.

Florida State was in control basically all day. MSU was one measly strike away from having to pack up the baseballs, bats and gloves and head back to Starkville to begin the offseason. Yet MacNamee, one last time, reminded us these Bulldogs don’t die. They’ll play yet again today because of it.

Of course they will. Keeping on keeping on, despite the circumstances, is just what this team does.

Joel Coleman is the Mississippi State beat writer for The Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SDN or its staff.