Or the lack of scoring, if you will. “But I’m just going to tell you, that’s really the only thing we’re doing wrong right now,” said team co-captain and senior Rea.
This only thing is a pretty big thing to be sure. Back when the Bulldogs were rolling at 13-0, they were averaging 8.8 runs per win. Since then Mississippi State scoring has collapsed with 14 runs in five games, four of them losses. The club batting average has slumped too, though not as drastically as might seem by the scores.
What it adds up to is, Bulldogs are still getting on base. On bases actually, often as not the second or third bags. It is bringing everyone home which has become Mississippi State’s great issue, especially now that SEC season opens Friday (weather permitting) with Alabama in town for a weekend series.
There is tension on the team, sure. But panic? Not from old Dog Rea, who himself is hitting .342 and in a three-way tie for the team RBI lead. It is not just his own solid statistics that have Rea keeping calm ahead of conference action.
“I’ve been around the game a long time. And I’ve been at this level a long time,” he said. “I feel when stuff like that happens it kind of gets contagious. Everybody is like ‘we’re not getting that big hit’ and start thinking that. So it becomes contagious.”
The encouraging aspect to this pressure is Rea’s solution is simple. Not easy, but simple.
“All it takes is that one big hit and the floodgates open. I’ve been around it, I’ve seen it happen. So we just have to get that big hit and have guys believing that.”
Rea talks about changing the offense’s attitude and production here.