Mississippi State Baseball: Diamond Dawgs to the Super Regionals

Feb 15, 2017; Mesa, AZ, USA; Detailed view of an official MLB baseball on the field during Chicago Cubs Spring Training workout at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 15, 2017; Mesa, AZ, USA; Detailed view of an official MLB baseball on the field during Chicago Cubs Spring Training workout at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mississippi State completed yet another comeback win to defeat the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in the Hattiesburg Regional Championship game.

Wow.

What. A. Team.

The Diamond Dawgs just do not quit. After a long weekend consisting of rain delays, postponed games, and situations that tested resiliency, the Bulldogs battled and defeated Southern Miss twice on Monday evening to advance to the Super Regionals. It was the fourth win in two days for the Bulldogs in Maroon.

Behind the arm of Jacob Billingsley in an unbelievable performance, the Bulldogs defeated the Golden Eagles in the first game of the day. Their reward? One more game for a chance to advance to the Super Regionals.

In the second game of the evening, the Bulldogs again were forced to battle back from an early defect. After Brent Rooker crushed his second homer of the day, the Golden Eagles came out hot to defend their home field and jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead in the first.

The Dawgs did not panic.

Instead, the Bulldogs battled back — something that they have done over and over all season long. The bats came alive, the pitching staff held together, and the team never lost faith in their ability to pull out another win during this incredible season.

Cody Brown’s three-run shot in the fifth inning closed the gap to a 5-4 game in Hattiesburg. After being down as many as four runs early, the Bulldogs found life.

In the seventh, Elijah MacNamee closed the frame with a spectacular catch to keep the Bulldogs within reach — a play that proved to be critical. Rooker took advantage the very next inning and hit a ball to the outfield that was misplayed by the Golden Eagles and led to two Bulldogs scoring.

What’s a Mississippi State game without a little bit of controversy?

Well, we got it. In the eight, as Southern Miss looked to regain the lead, Ryan Gridley threw the base runner out on a close play at first — erasing the scoring threat.

The play was difficult to judge by the camera angles, but USM’s Scott Berry was livid.

State headed to the ninth with a one run lead, but needed an insurance run to ensure a win. They got it from Elijah MacNamee’s bat.

Riley Self closed the eventful weekend in Hattiesburg out and the Diamond Dawgs are heading to Baton Rouge!

Naturally, after a win — and a weekend — like that, the Bulldogs poured out a lot of emotion. The players laughed at the BPI projections that gave them a 6.8 chance to win the regional.

The baseball team has faced a lot of adversity on the diamond this season, but they are not done. Brent Rooker claims this is why he came back to Starkville.

The pitching staff has had its struggles this season, but Cannizaro made sure to praise their efforts:

Considering the circumstances this team has faced, I have to agree with Bart.

Mississippi State  placed five members on the All-Hattiesburg Regional team and Cody Brown earned MVP honors for his efforts over the weekend.

No words for this team. The Bulldogs will enjoy this awesome victory and prepare for their visit to Baton Rouge for a SEC West showdown.