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MSU gets back to baseball after coaching change

Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications.

After a whirlwind of a 36-hour period, the Mississippi State Diamond Dawgs were able to step between the lines and play some baseball last night. The result was a 10-1 over Jackson State, and the Bulldogs showed composure and energy after a tough few days.

Former head coach Andy Cannizaro resigned on Monday, and after the team’s first win of the season, interim head coach Gary Henderson answered questions from the media for the first time since taking over the Bulldog baseball squad. Henderson says that they will be able to get through this situation because of the type of character his team has.

“We have great players, but we probably have better people than we do players. We’ve got really good players. They’re SEC players, they’re Mississippi State players, and they’re tremendous people, and tonight showed that.” – Gary Henderson 

DH Hunter Vansau drove in the first run of the game in the 1st inning and homered in the 3rd to extend the MSU lead to 3-0. After the game, Vansau said that the players are looking to move forward instead of letting outside noise affect the program.

“There’s two ways to react to it and that’s either to let it affect us or overcome it, and that’s what we’re going to plan on doing moving forward,” Vansau said.

Off-the-field issues aside, MSU had some early season rust to shake off after getting swept by Southern Miss over the opening weekend. Henderson noted that until a team gets its first win, it can affect their play in a negative fashion, but they were able to get that out of the way last night.

“Sometimes you play over the course of a weekend, get punched in the nose a little bit. Then you get a couple days off and you realize that you’re a lot better than you performed, and you’re determined to go out and prove it. I think we did a good job of that tonight,” Henderson said.

Henderson spoke of the team’s over-aggressiveness in the USM series and OF Jake Mangum agreed.

“We chased a little bit too much and we got too aggressive on pitches that we shouldn’t be swinging at and we did a lot better job of that tonight,” Mangum said.

Both Vansau and Magnum put their full support behind Henderson and the coaching staff at MSU.

While the Bulldogs were able to put up 10 runs, the pitching staff shined as well. JP France made his MSU debut and worked for 3 innings before turning things over to the bullpen which kept the JSU offense down. The Tigers managed just 4 hits and didn’t score their first run until a wild pitch in the 8th inning.

MSU (1-3) will continue their extended road trip as the renovations to Dudy-Noble Field enter their final phase. The Bulldogs will now travel to Texas for the Kleberg Bank College Classic and their first game is on Saturday against UC Santa Barbara.

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