Mississippi State baseball: Five Thoughts

Collin Brister
Sports Writer

1. The Bulldogs have really set themselves up to win the SEC for the second year in a row after sweeping Alabama over the weekend. The SEC East isn’t as strong as it normally is, and the Bulldogs will either be right in the thick of things in the Western division this year. They’ll have tough tests waiting for them, but they get both Arkansas and LSU at home, which really gives them a solid opportunity to clinch an SEC championship.
2. The turn-around that the Bulldogs have had has been one of the more impressive things in the country. They started off the SEC slate 0-3 after getting swept at Arkansas, and since have gone 13-2 in the league, and have positioned themselves to get a national seed if they continue to play well. The Bulldogs have a favorable schedule remaining as far as RPI opportunities go, and if they can continue to take advantage of it, they’ll find themselves playing a ton of postseason baseball in Starkville come June.
3. Brent Rooker and Jake Mangum are just unfair. They’re the best 1-2 punch in college baseball, and having to pitch to both of them makes it tough on opposing pitchers. Mangum is lightning fast, and if he gets on he can cause problems. Rooker is the best hitter in the country, and his ability to drive the ball out into gaps and out of the ballpark really opens up the offense for the Bulldogs.
4. The Bulldogs aren’t great in the pen, but they’ve really found a way to make things work back there. They have a ton of injuries, but they’re finding more and more roles for guys, and that opens up more opportunities. They have a reliable ace on Friday nights in Konnor Pilkington, and his ability to pitch deep into contests has really served the Bulldogs well throughout the season. The bullpen isn’t dominant by any means, but it’s stabilized over the season.
5. The Bulldogs will travel to Georgia next weekend, a team that is one of the worst in the SEC. If they can come away with three wins in Athens, they’re really setting themselves up to do something special, as they’ll return home for the end of the year with LSU and Auburn on the schedule. While those teams aren’t a pushover, playing at home for an SEC championship would be a huge advantage for the Bulldogs.