Smith on Sports: No doubt MSU can win more

Staff Writer

There shouldn’t be any doubt that the Mississippi State Bulldogs can go to the College World Series and do very well.

When MSU begins its quest for a national championship on Saturday night against Washington, it has just a good a chance as any team in Omaha, Nebraska, to bring home the title.

The Bulldogs are already 6-0 against the field with sweeps over Florida and Arkansas this season. It has already defeated other national seeds that have since been eliminated in Florida State and Ole Miss. Elijah MacNamee took care of the Seminoles with one swing of the bat a the Tallahassee Regional a couple of weeks ago.

MSU has proven to be a battled-tested squad just because of what it faced during the season in the Southeastern Conference.

Interim head coach Gary Henderson said on Monday that his Bulldogs couldn’t have asked for a better way to get ready for the College World Series than what the SEC provided.

“That’s the beauty of our league,” Henderson said on Tuesday. “You look around and there are a lot of close games in our league. Our league is a great way to prepare for postseason. If we didn’t have three of them matched up in super regionals, you would have more making the trip to Omaha. I think the league does a great job of preparing you to play tight games.”

MSU could not have asked for a more close and competitive situation than what it saw in Nashville, Tennessee, last weekend against the Vanderbilt Commodores in the super regional.

After MacNamee did it again with a game-winning home run to lift the Bulldogs over the Commodores 10-8 in game one, Vanderbilt hit a walk off home run to earn a 4-3 second-game victory.

That led to a one-game showdown for the right to get to Omaha on Sunday and the back-and-forth outing went extra innings before MSU pulled out a 10-6 win in 11 innings.

The emotions had to be off the charts for everyone involved in that series and it’s hard to imagine it being any higher for the Bulldogs in at least the first couple of games at the CWS. As the week progresses and they get closer to the championship series, that should change.

It will definitely be interesting to see how MSU responds at this next stop of its postseason. It probably got the best first-game matchup that could have been asked for against Washington.

That’s not to say the Huskies won’t be a formidable foe because any team that reaches this point will be good, but at least it’s not against national seeds North Carolina and Oregon State.

People ask me all of the time, “how far do you think the Bulldogs can go?” My response is usually, “nothing will surprise me about this team." I’m not going to doubt MSU anymore and think it can't do something.

Baseball provides plenty of twists and turns. The College World Series is a tough more than two-week grind to win a championship. It really tests pitching staffs.

The Bulldogs have shown they can maneuver around the difficult postseason so far. There’s no reason why MSU can't take that momentum and have success in Omaha.

Danny P. Smith is the sports editor and columnist 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.