The name of Jake Mangum and the word ‘slump’ have rarely – if ever – been used together over Mangum’s four years at Mississippi State. However the last three weeks, the Southeastern Conference’s all-time hits leader has been stuck in a major rut.
On Sunday night though, at just the opportune time, Mangum again found his stride and it all it took was a tapper in front of home plate.
Mangum’s infield single was the spark for a three-run fourth-inning rally that paved the way for Mississippi State’s eventual 5-2 victory over Miami. The win gave MSU the Starkville Regional championship, punched the Bulldogs’ ticket to a super regional for a fourth-straight year and got their team leader back on track all at the same time.
“I’m just happy for him,” MSU head coach Chris Lemonis said of Mangum. “Everything he says is the epitome of a ballplayer. He just deserves to be able to enjoy this time. It was hard watching him fight through (his slump). It’s his senior year and he’s competing and he’s the ultimate competitor. We knew he’d fight out of it. He’s been really good in his work. It was just a point of getting that one hit to get it off of his back.”
For more on Mangum and the Bulldogs, see Monday's Starkville Daily News.