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Morning Start Doesn't Agree With Bulldogs, Late Surge Falls Short, 6-7

Catcher Johnny Long

By Doug Kyle

In a game moved up seven hours, from 6 pm to 11 am, to avert incoming weather, the Mississippi State offense seemed caught in a sleepy trance for eight innings. And when it did wake up, it missed an appointment with a midweek victory over 12-15 Central Arkansas.

Despite scoring a run in the first and eighth, both without the aid of a hit, the only hit credited to MSU until the final inning was a ball shortstop David Mershon drove to deep short that was, correctly, scored a hit.

As some of the Twilight Zone conditions that prevailed the night before in Baton Rouge as Southern upset LSU drifted into Starkville, the Bulldogs rousted themselves into a rally, got within a run and even had the tying and winning runs in scoring position with but one out, it forfeited in the form of a bunt that advanced the runners. But, Dakota Jordan and Hunter Hines (who'd already homered to start the rally) could neither muster a game-tying or winning knock of any variety, both going down swinging to end the game.

Afterwards, Head Coach Chris Lemonis spoke with some of his understandable exasperation showing, as did unofficial team leader Johnny Long, who didn't start the midweek game after catching all three conference games on the weekend but came in later. The frustration encountered recently in erratic midweek games pitching even prompted Lemonis to bring in freshman pitcher Gage Haley, his first career action in the 30th game of 56 scheduled. Lemonis had praise for the debut, while still orally wringing his hands over the quest to find and field consistent and reliable pitching and hitting.

The challenge does not subside one iota either, as hot-hitting Georgia and Charlie Condon arrive in Starkville for a three-game series at Dudy Noble Field on Friday for a pair of night games followed by Sunday afternoon. The starting rotation has not yet been announced, although Khal Stephen and Jurrangelo Cijntje are expected to be 2/3 of the group, days of designation TBD.

A special ceremony is also on tap for Saturday afternoon, as the 2024 class of the Ron Polk Ring of Honor is inducted. Watch for reposts beginning tomorrow of our December feature series on honorees Buddy Myer, Bobby Reed, and Jim Ellis.

Here are the post game comments from Lemonis and Long:

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