On a little whiteboard the words honesty, integrity, competitiveness, and men not boys are written. The signatures of every Mississippi State University baseball player were left on the board from the last time they were in Starkville.
“Wednesday morning before we left, I thought with the change in leadership that they understood what was important to me,” head coach Gary Henderson said. “The pitchers certainly understood those things, but that is not something I shared with the position players. I felt like with where we were going it was really important for them to know my values.”
The team went on a two-week road trip where they played seven games. They won five out of the seven they played, including three neutral site games in Houston, Texas. Henderson said the experience helped his players a lot.
“I think any time in the year and you are on the road and get three wins it is beneficial, in that environment against those teams, basically home games for those teams, a great venue, I think it helps our kids a lot,” Henderson said.
MSU (6-5) will take on New Mexico State University (8-4) in two midweek games. Right-handed pitcher Cole Marsh is set to get the start in the first game and Henderson has not decided on a pitcher for Wednesday's game.
“At this point in time, we only have a double midweek game one other time, so we have got to make our way through it the first time,” Henderson said. “Anytime you have one on a Wednesday you have to cover 18 innings, and then you do not want to burn too many of them before Friday night."
Henderson said he will hopefully give right-handed pitcher Zane Stephens a turn on the mound in the near future.
He explained why Dustin Skelton has started more at catcher this season than freshman Marshall Gilbert.
“I think the fair answer is he has earned it, specifically you are talking about communicating, controlling and helping the pitching staff,” Henderson said. “You are talking about receiving, blocking and throwing. Very happy that Marshall Gilbert is a part of the program and he will catch, but right now I think Dustin is reaping the benefits of his hard work.”
Henderson added how in baseball, you need two catchers, and he has two he is very happy with.
The game against NMSU will be the first game played before fans in the new, but still in progress, Dudy Noble field.
“I have not seen it since two Mondays ago, but my overall impression is it will be the best facility in the country and we are really proud of it,” Henderson said. “We are fortunate that we are at a place where people care enough for us to be able to play in that kind of a stadium.”
First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. on the SEC Network Plus, and Wednesday’s game is set at the same time and place.