Thursday, September 6, 2012

SxSE: Mississippi State Baseball 1885-2012

The Mississippi State bulldogs have seen good success over the years.  They are currently an NCAA Regional program.  They can be expected to have a good shot at reaching the Regionals each year, and may go even farther.  But there have been enough season in the past decade when they did not get into the tournament at all that they still have something to prove in terms of being a highly  successful program.  The Bulldogs' average record over the past 10 seasons has been 34-26.

Mississippi State has the oldest tradition in the SEC of participating in inter-collegiate baseball, stretching back to 1885.

C.R. "Dudy" Noble coached the Bulldogs from 1920 to 1927.  He went on to be the long time athletic director at Mississippi State.  The Bulldogs baseball stadium is named after him.

Paul Gregory coached the bulldogs from 1957 through 1974, compiling a record of 328-161-1 and taking them to the College World Series once.

Ron Polk was the head coach from 1976 through 2008.
  • Former MU assistant coach John Cohen has been the head coach at MSU since 2009.
  • MSU has won the SEC regular season championship 16 times, in 1909, 1911, 1918, 1921, 1922, 1924, 1948, 1949, 1965, 1966, 1970, 1971, 1979, 1985, 1987, and 1989
  • MSU has won the SEC Tournament 7 times, in 1979, 1985, 1987, 1990, 2001, 2005, and 2012
  • MSU hs been in the NCAA Tournament 32 times, in 1949, 1953, 1965, 1966, 1970, 1971, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, and 2012
  • MSU has been to the College World Series 8 times, in 1971, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1997, 1998, and 2007. They have never won the national championship
Notable former Mississippi State ballplayers
History of MSU Baseball ( provides a quick overview of the storied history of Mississippi State Baseball.  I'll stipulate the writer knows what he's talking about, despite having spelled the current head coach's name incorrectly.  For more MSU Baseball History, take a gander at the many old time photos at Glimpses of the Past:  Mississippi State Baseball

A big part of MSU Baseball history and tradition is tied to the tenure of legendary head coach Ron Polk.  He built Bulldog Baseball - and SEC Baseball - into a powerhouse.  For more on Ron Polk, read our post from last year's SEC Dixienary: P is for Polk

Mississippi State Baseball in 2012

The 2012 Bulldogs finished 40-24 overall, 16-14 in the SEC.  They won the SEC Tournament and t hen went 1-2 in the Tallahassee Regional.

All Things Considered, it was a Good Year for MSU Baseball (Maroon and White Nation)
Pitching was the obvious strength for this team…and they exceeded expectations. Caleb Reed wasn’t as dominate as in 2011, but he was still effective this year with a 2.47 ERA. Chris Stratton surpassed everyone’s expectations by going from a long-relief guy to one of the best starting pitchers in the country.
. . .
The hitting, as we all know, struggled. But consider how much was lost from last year’s team:11 of the top 12 hitters from 2011 either left or missed significant time due to injury this year (Parks, Vickerson, Bradford, Shepherd, Freeman, Brownlee, Norris, Ogden, Collins, Thigpen and Johnson). A guy who hit in the heart of the lineup all year, Hunter Renfroe, only had 26 at-bats in 2011, and hit .154. A lot of young players gained valuable experience this year: Wes Rea, Matthew Britton, Hunter Renfroe, DeMarcus Henderson and Tyler Fullerton. . .

MSU Baseball- Don’t Close That Coffin Yet! (Maroon and White Nation)
That was part of the challenge that John Cohen took on four years ago when he took over. It’s one thing to say that you have to add talent- but there are some things that are deeper than that- things that must be done in order to get the talent that you need to compete for championships. No matter how good the bar-b-que is, no one wants to play for a loser. We had to get confidence back from the players and the fans, we had to makeover our image as a program that simply has a good history, and we had to change the overall attitude of our program. To me, that is the legacy of this team. This is the team that I have been waiting for, for four years that I feel put us back on the map, and gives us a real opportunity to move our baseball program even further forward. And while we didn’t make it to Omaha or even a Super Regional like last year’s team, I think this team accomplished us getting our swagger back. . .

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