For the second weekend in a row, the MSU baseball team was swept in SEC play, this time by the hottest team in the SEC right now, Georgia. Georgia has now won 12 straight games overall and 10 straight in SEC play.
Although they still have a mathematical chance of making the SEC Tournament, it will take at least 5 victories to do that. Plus, either Tennessee or Vanderbilt would have to lose all six of their games. With the caliber of pitching that they both have, the chance of that happening is slim to none. Then, you would also have to add what Auburn does in there as well, since they are two games ahead of MSU.
However, no matter what any of the teams above them do, this baseball team still has 7 games left in this season. That means young guys like sophomores Brad Corley, Joseph Hunter, Jeff Butts, Thomas Berkery, Brad Jones, Brooks Dunn, Brett Cleveland, Jamie Gant, Craig Tatum (if he doesn't go pro) and freshmen like Tyler Jones, Brian LaNinfa, Jon Crosby, Josh Johnson and Jeffrey Rea have 7 more games to hone their skills as they prepare for next year. Add in other youngsters like freshmen Bunky Kateon, Michael Rutledge and Trent Hill (all being redshirted) and there is even more reason to be optimistic. And this doesn't even include current juniors like Saunders Ramsey, Todd Doolittle, and Alan Johnson.
I know it's difficult to look forward to next year when this year is so bad, at least by MSU standards, but if you look back at MSU baseball under Coach Polk, his teams always rebound, and usually rebound very, very well.
Here are a few examples to think about.
This current three-year period (2002-04) appears to be most similar to the period of 1980-82, when MSU had a bad year, then a good year, then followed that with another bad year. After that last bad year, MSU baseball had the greatest 11-year period in its history.
Who knows, with the talent that MSU has coming back and the talented group of newcomers that are coming in (Richardson, Flagg, Moreland, Lalor, Faulkenberry, Crosswhite, Easley), things could get very exciting at Dudy Noble Field the next few years.
Here's a list of alumni meetings and Bulldog Family Celebrations (BFC) this week along with what MSU football coaches (and others) will be at the meetings.
Here's a list of players that were updated in last week's Hot News and on my front page.
The MSU softball team is currently the hottest team in the SEC with 15 wins in its last 17 games. It has also won 10 of its last 12 SEC games. Of the ranked opponents that MSU has faced during this 17-game span, they have won 7 of 8 games.
A pitcher to watch during post-season play is true freshman Kelli Miller, a 5-foot-10 righthander. Since being bombed for 14 hits and 10 runs by Alabama, Kelli has reeled off 5 straight wins against Arkansas, Ole Miss, Florida, UAB and Georgia Tech. During that span, she has allowed 6 runs (4 earned) on 14 hits and 5 walks, while striking out 19 in 31 innings.
Next up for the Bulldogs is the University of Tennessee in the SEC Tournament, which is set to begin Thursday at the University of Alabama softball field. MSU and Tennessee tangle Thursday at 11 a.m.
With the signing of national record-holder Elzie Coleman, the MSU track coaches have, in all likelihood, wrapped up the top recruiting class in the nation.
MSU had already signed one of the world's top sprinters in Steve Mullings, as well as top-10 USA prep sprinters like Adian Sanderson and Trell Kimmons. Add in Chris Woods, the United States record holder in the 800-meter run, and numerous other signees who have won state championships and you understand even better why I say this.
And MSU is still recruiting at least one other track athlete, Beau Burroughs, a thrower from Jesuit HS in Tampa, Florida. Beau is considered one of the top 5 to 6 throwers in the USA high school ranks.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher/owner of Gene's Page, the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.