Soaking it in: Bulldogs living the Omaha dream

Mississippi State celebrates the super regional win in Nashville.
Staff Writer

No, it wasn’t all just a dream.

This past weekend, Mississippi State traveled to Nashville and added another chapter to its storybook season when the Bulldogs defeated the Commodores to advance to the College World Series. It seemed almost like an illusion for MSU. At this point though, it’s all too real.

“When we got back to Starkville (on Monday), it all kind of sunk in when the fans were waiting on us,” Mississippi State center fielder Jake Mangum said.

The Bulldogs will board a plane this afternoon and fly to Omaha, Nebraska. Few, if any, would’ve predicted such a trip would be taking place just a few short weeks ago. Yet here they are.

This past Sunday night (or Monday morning as the game ended in the early hours) MSU dog-piled on Vanderbilt’s Hawkins Field after locking down the super regional victory. To say the Bulldogs were elated would be putting it very mildly. Mangum shed tears of joy. A jubilant interim head coach Gary Henderson leaped into the arms of his players after having Powerade dumped over him in celebration. The party continued on when MSU left the stadium.

“The best bus ride was from the field to the hotel after the ballgame,” Henderson said. “That was a good 25 minutes. The kids were fired up and so was the coaching staff.”

By the time the Bulldogs made their way home midday on Monday, things had somewhat calmed down. Henderson described the ride home as quiet.

Things livened up when Mississippi State pulled back onto campus in Starkville. Many of the maroon-and-white-clad faithful that have cheered on the Bulldogs through this miraculous run were waiting to welcome MSU home.

The Bulldogs won't feel the comforts of home for very long as they’ll be headed northward after today’s practice session. MSU will play its first game in the College World Series on Saturday night at 7 p.m., then the journey for the team continues.

What a wild, unpredictable ride it has been. The Bulldogs are trying, best it can, to relish it.

“I think we’re enjoying it as much as you’re supposed to,” Henderson said. “I think there’s a cap on that, but we’ll get to practice and get to work and make sure our mindset is where it needs to be as we move on with the week.”