After a suboptimal outing on opening weekend, the Diamond Dawgs bounced back against the Northern Kentucky Norse and took the second home series of the year 2-1.
It wasn’t without some struggles, though, as Bulldog ace Landon Sims had one of his poorer performances on Friday evening. He tossed 5.0 innings, allowing six hits and four runs, only one of which was earned.
Parker Stinnett, another gunslinger with high preseason hopes, didn’t do much to alleviate the issue in Sims’ relief, either, allowing another pair of runs across the plate. When it was all said and done, a late rally wasn’t enough for Mississippi State University and they dropped the first game 7-6.
After the game, head coach Chris Lemonis was open about what he believed was holding this fresh team back.
“We have to get tougher, and we have to play harder and just compete more,” Lemonis said. “We’re not competing at all … there’s just not a lot of competing.”
The boys did just that for the rest of the series.
MSU had several big names coming into game two that were without a home run on the young season, and that list shortened exponentially in the Bulldogs’ 10-1 victory. Outfielder Brad Cumbest, catcher and Golden Spikes watch list player Logan Tanner and third baseman Kamren James all went yard in the affair and bounced back for a statement win.
The most impressive part about the second game, though, was RHP Preston Johnson. Johnson tossed 6.1 innings in his first career start in the maroon and white, only allowing two hits, one of which was a solo home run.
After the game, Johnson was asked about what the preparation process was like after he found out that he was going to be the starter, and in typical Preston Johnson fashion, he delivered.
“I thought I was going to throw up this morning,” Johnson said. “It was pretty nerve racking, you know? Coming out of the bullpen you have adrenaline and everything, but as you’re starting you know what to expect and you know that it’s coming.”
MSU kept riding their bats to victory in game three, as first baseman Luke Hancock and Brad Cumbest added to their home run totals. After play concluded in what was a cold weekend series, the Bulldogs took home the win in the Sunday rubbermatch 7-2, improving their record to 4-3 on the young season.
After a midweek contest against Grambling State on Tuesday evening, MSU will take to the road to play Southern Miss on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. before making the short trip to New Orleans to face Tulane in their first road series of the year.