Mississippi States Opens The New Dudy Noble Field With a 14-3 Win

Today was a celebration of Mississippi State baseball, with the legends of the past here to celebrate the future, the opening of the newly renovated, remodeled, and rebuilt Dudy Noble Field. With all that happening in the background, you could forgive the current Bulldog squad for perhaps being distracted from the task at hand, getting a win on opening day. It took a few innings for the Bulldogs to get the bats going, but when they did, they were unstoppable, racking up 14 runs on the same number of hits, taking game one of the 2019 season with a 14-3 win over Youngstown State. State was held scoreless through six innings, and trailed 3-0 going into the bottom of that frame before tying it up courtesy of a Jordan Westburg RBI double and a two run blast into the Left Field Lounge from Tanner Allen. That 3-3 score would hold until the bottom of the eight, when MSU exploded for 11 runs, the big blow being a three run homer from Elijah MacNamee.

BIG DAY FOR WESTBURG

Jordan Westburg enjoyed his debut at shortstop, going 4-5 with 2 RBI and 3 runs scored. Westburg hitting third in the lineup was a bit of a pregame surprise, but he rewarded the faith Chris Lemonis showed in him with a big day in the plate. He got MSU on the board with a double that scored Jake Mangum in the seventh, then drove in Rowdey Jordan with another double in that eighth inning. Westburg is the player that to me at least, might have the highest ceiling of any player on the team with his frame. Still a long season to go, but game one was definitely one that should have you excited about his potential.

STATE STRIKES THEM OUT

Ethan Small struck out the side in the first inning, and it just kept going from there for Bulldog pitching. State would roll up 18 strikeouts in the game, with Small good for 11 of them. Small pitched well in his debut, only giving up 3 hits and not issuing a walk, only a two run home run by YSU’s Trevor Wiersma giving him a blemish. In relief, Peyton Plumlee, Cole Gordon, and newcomer Colby White racked up 7 K’s in four innings, with Gordon getting the win. Gordon was able to extend his scoreless innings streak to 16.2, dating back to his fantastic run in last year’s postseason run.

A WINNING DEBUT

Lost in all of the hubbub of today’s stadium reveal and all the legends in town was the thought it was also the debut of MSU’s new head coach Chris Lemonis. You can be forgiven if you felt that today signified more than just the opening of a new ball park or the start of a new coaching tenure. It really did feel like the dawn of a new era at Mississippi State, following the chaos of last season that went from the embarrassment of opening the season getting swept at Southern Mississippi and the dismissal of Andy Cannizaro to the jubilation of a return to the College World Series. Perhaps the program is finally back on stable footing, which is an incredible thing to say considering the success of the past two years. It really speaks to the brand of MSU baseball that even through all of that, the wins kept rolling in.

WHAT’S NEXT?

There will be more pomp and circumstance during tomorrow’s doubleheader, as the Bulldogs will induct six of their biggest names into the Ron Polk Ring of Honor, including the man it is named after, Coach Ron Polk. Tomorrow also marks the debut of highly touted true freshman JT Ginn, who passed on a first round selection by the Los Angeles Dodgers to come to Starkville. He will get the ball tomorrow at noon for Game 1, with junior Keegan James drawing the start in the nightcap.

Photo courtesy of Mississippi State athletics