Mississippi State Caps Historic Weekend of Baseball With A Doubleheader Sweep

With more than a hundred former Diamond Dawgs in attendance, three legends in Will Clark, Rafael Palmeiro, and Jeff Brantley throwing out the first pitch, and the reveal of the Ron Polk Ring of Honor in the right field plaza, you had to remember there were baseball games actually being played this weekend at Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs didn’t forget, as they hammered Youngstown State to tune of 14-2 and 8-0 to cap a sweep, the first time State has started a season 3-0 since 2015. It was an impressive performance both at the plate and on the mound for the Bulldogs.

TANNER ALLEN STARTS OFF HOT

Tanner Allen should be a lock for SEC Player of the Week after a 7-13, 2 HR, 13 RBI weekend. Allen seems locked in from the first pitch, and absolutely blistered the Penguins in every game. Last week, I said on SportsTalk Mississippi I was surprised to see Allen on the coach’s preseason All-SEC second team. If the first weekend is any indication, Allen could be due for a lot more honors before this season is over. He led a Bulldog attack that rang up 36 runs over the three game series, featuring home runs from Allen, Elijah MacNamee, Justin Foscue, and Hayden Jones. The Bulldog bats seem to like the new stadium.

JT GINN IMPRESSES

Ginn’s debut was one of the most highly anticipated in years for Bulldog baseball, and after a first inning hiccup of a bean ball and two run homer, he settled in and was very efficient, striking out 7 and only giving up one more hit. Ginn turned down first round money from the Los Angeles Dodgers to come to MSU, and putting him in the weekend rotation for the first series shows the amount of faith the coaching staff in his talent. If Ginn can be the second part of that one-two punch with Ethan Small anchoring the rotation on Friday nights, the Bulldogs can possibly compete for their 12th SEC championship.

LEGENDS COME HOME

Saturday also marked the unveiling of the Ron Polk Ring of Honor, located in the right field entrance plaza of Dudy Noble Field. The former Diamond Dawg skipper was among the first inductees, joining three of his pupils, Will Clark, Rafael Palmeiro, and Jeff Brantley, along with David “Boo Ferris and C.R. “Dudy” Noble. Polk made his first return to the stadium that bears his name in over a decade, and received the warm welcome you’d hope a legend of his status would get. Clark and Palmeiro were, of course, the big winners this weekend, not only joining the Ring of Honor but having their statues unveiled outside the stadium on Friday afternoon.

WHAT’S NEXT?

MSU fans will see Coach Polk again on Wednesday when he returns as a part of Brian Shoop’s staff at UAB, Shoop himself is a former Bulldog assistant as well. It will be interesting to see who lands the midweek starter’s role and how Chris Lemonis and Scott Foxhall handle that game. UAB isn’t an opponent like Mississippi Valley or Alcorn, where you can plan to pitch a multitude of guys, they are a team fully capable of coming into Starkville and leaving with a win. State didn’t overuse anybody in the bullpen, so outside of the weekend starters, everyone should be available to go.

We’ll have plenty more baseball talk on the Thunder & Lightning Podcast, plus even more than that on Monday’s edition of SportsTalk Mississippi.

Photo courtesy of Mississippi State athletics