Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Bulldog right hander Ryan Cyr is making the most of his opportunities to help the Diamond Dawgs win big.

Leawood, Kansas product Ryan Cyr has already thrown some big innings for Mississippi State despite his freshman classification. Cyr spurned offers from several programs including tenders from home state programs Kansas State and Wichita State in favor of the Bulldogs. While a spot in the weekend rotation may be in the cards for next year, Cyr is focused on what he can do now to help the Bulldogs extend their season all the way to Omaha.

While Mississippi State is looking to make another trip to the promised land of college baseball, Cyr recounts the journey that brought him to Starkville in the first place.

"I talked with Coach Ming (Nick Mingione) during my junior year," Cyr recounted. "I had offers from some Big-12 schools. I was probably going to get a couple of more from the SEC, but right as my season was ending Coach Ming came to one of my games. He came to Atlanta when I flew down to pitch in a game down there with my summer team."

The summer season contest proved to be a very significant one in Cyr's recruitment as he put together a solid outing that impressed not only Mingione, but the Bulldog coaches back in Starkville.

"Coach Ming sent some video to Coach (Butch) Thompson and I ended up coming here on a visit," Cyr said. "I loved it here. Everything was nice, but I think I feel in love with the coaching staff more than anything. I just feel like they bonded with me as well as my parents.

"Coach (John) Cohen was a big factor in things. He sat down with me and my family. He talked with all of us and I just knew that this was where I needed to go."

The Mississippi State experience appears to have been a very positive one on and off the field for Cyr, who sees teammates and fans more as family members. 

"It's awesome being here," Cyr said. "People know who you are here. It's been fun. Our team is so close that there is never a dull moment. You just always love being here."

It took eleven college appearances before opponents were able to see a run charged to Cyr's record. The talented right hander strung together sixteen scoreless innings to begin his college career. That impressive streak came to an end in game two at Alabama when a runner charged to Cyr scored in the 9th inning.

"I always have confidence," Cyr said. "I always just want to come in, shove it in the zone as hard as I can and get three outs. When you look at the flow of the game, if you get that first out in the inning, then everything else just seems to go easier.

"If you get that first one, then if you give up a single, you can roll up a double play and get out of there. If you do give up a double to that next guy then you're not really hurt, because there was nobody on base.

"I've always just tried to put myself in good situations. I have just tried to do everything that our coaching staff has asked me to do to the best of my abilities. I just want to get outs for our team and I was pretty fortunate that I was able to do that and no runs ended up on the board."

In his first college start, Cyr pitched 4 complete innings of sparking baseball against in state rival Ole Miss. The Bulldogs shutout the Rebels 2-0 to secure the Governor's Cup and the team's third win over the Rebels this season.

While fans on both sides of the rivalry packed Trustmark Park to set a new attendance record for the facility, Cyr reports that he did his best to beat back any butterflies before the game.

"I know Coach Cohen thought I was really amped up, pretty pumped up," Cyr said. "I didn't really think I was. I thought I was in a pretty calm state. I just tried to remember what Coach (Wes) Johnson tells us everyday and that is that we are facing a faceless opponent. It doesn't matter who it is. If you don't come out there with your best stuff, then you're going to get beat. 

"I went out there and I just trusted all of my pitches. I was able to locate my fastball wherever I wanted that night and that helped me get outs. The crowd was amazing and it was a great atmosphere. I was excited to pitch against my first SEC opponent as a starter. I just tried to get outs. My job is to throw strikes, don't walk anybody and let my defense work for me. I feel like I did my job that night."

Being on staff with a pair of SEC starters like Dakota Hudson and Austin Sexton has proven to be a quality experience for Cyr. The freshman reports that he is doing his best to soak up every bit of baseball knowledge from the two junior hurlers as he can. 

"I would say that Dakota and I are probably best friends," Cyr said. "We have been really close ever since I have been on campus. 

"When he is throwing, he is not going to just sit there in the dugout and be the tough guy. If I come up to him and ask him how he got this guy out or what he threw in a certain situation, he will tell you. He will tell you exactly what he did to help us all get better.

"He told me that he had some struggles as a freshman and he has done all he could do to help me, so I didn't have those same struggles.

"I know Austin doesn't have that captain logo on his sleeve, but he's a captain on this team. He and Dakota lead our pitching staff. They're both always out there to help everybody else. There are a lot of us freshmen, but they are always helping us get better. They've been through it all before, so they know what we're going through."

With two SEC weekends left, the Bulldogs have plenty to play for as they chase some SEC hardware, a regional host site and a potential top eight national seed. Cyr reports that despite the high stakes of the final weekends of the regular season, the Bulldogs are keeping an even keel.

"We just need to keep doing what we're doing," Cyr said. "I don't think any of us feel any pressure right now. We're out there having fun in the dugout. I am not sure everybody notices that, but we just love playing baseball together.

"If we're down, there is no doubt in our minds. We feel like we're going to comeback and win the ball game. We're always in there for the fight and I think we all just love baseball so much, that it's just a great team to be on.

"There's not really any pressure on us. We just want to keep playing ball and get the results we've have been getting."

The Bulldogs are in action tonight at Troy. The final road trip of the regular season will take place this weekend as Mississippi State travels to Auburn for a three game series against the Tigers and former Bulldog pitching coach and now Auburn head coach, Butch Thompson. 

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