MSU making ninth trip to Omaha
After a rain delay on Sunday, the Bulldogs of Mississippi State finished their sweep of Virginia and punched their ticket to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
MSU beat the odds by defeating the number six national seeded Cavaliers in dominating fashion.
While the pitching was shaky for the Bulldogs in game one, the bats were not. They amassed a phenomenal 20 hits, which ranks second for the Bulldogs all-time in postseason play, with 11 runs in the first game to win 11-6.
The pitching picked up for the Bulldogs in game two as it was 6-3 going into the ninth.
In the ninth, however, State closer Jonathan Holder ran into some uncharacteristic trouble as they gave up two runs to make it 6-5.
That was all the Cavs could muster, though. Holder closed out the game and, subsequently, the series.
This will be the ninth trip to Omaha for the Bulldogs with the most recent outing coming in 2007.
The road doesn’t get much easier from here on out, but it seems that Mississippi State has caught fire at the right time. They will need to keep that spark for their next opponent: Oregon State University.
OSU is a team with a recent history of big victories, most notably the consecutive national championships in 2006 and 2007.
The Beavers have six players batting over .300 with a seventh stuck at the .299 mark. That is more than plenty to match up with the hot bats of Hunter Renfroe and company.
Mississippi State will probably face the freakish freshman Andrew Moore with his 14-1 record and 1.36 ERA on 119 innings pitched. Moore was named Pac-12 Freshman of the year and First Team Freshman All-American by virtually every news outlet.
The plus for MSU is that Moore can get a bit wild as seen by his six wild pitches and team leading 10 hit batters on the season.
The Bulldogs can win if they follow the same pattern as the Super Regional: get up early and lean on the bullpen to finish games.
If they can’t jump on Moore early, it may be a long day for the Bulldogs.
The opening ceremonies for this year’s CWS will be held on Friday, June 14, with the first game of MSU vs. OSU being played at 2 p.m. the following day on ESPN2.
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The United States has a loosely precise hierarchy of sports that its inhabitants support.
The NFL leads the way with college football and the NBA following behind. There is an arguable order afterwards that includes college basketball, MLB, college baseball, hockey, NASCAR and professional golf.
After that extensive list lies professional tennis. I would argue that it has fallen that far because there is no true American threat becoming a dominant force.
Gone are the days of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, and Andy Roddick never came close to meeting his expectations.
Americans have somewhat turned a blind eye to what is perhaps the richest tennis field ever displayed.
Over the past weekend, Spaniard Rafael Nadal won his eighth French Open, which has him dubbed the “King of Clay.” That is the most any player has won a single Grand Slam.
His list of accomplishments is extensive and include being only the second player ever to win the Career Golden Slam (completing the Career Grand Slam and winning gold in the Olympics) and breaking the record for consecutive years of having won a Grand Slam at nine.
The most insane thing about all of this is that he isn’t even the most dominant tennis player of his era. That distinction goes to the Switzerland native Roger Federer.
Federer will more than likely go down as the greatest tennis player of all time with his 17 Grand Slam Titles (seven were at Wimbledon) and a record-breaking 237-consecutive-week at the World’s number one spot (he has been there 302 weeks overall).
With these two incredible performers, it is almost easy to forget the rising star Novak Djokovic.
The number one ranked Serbian has already won six Grand Slam Titles, including four Australian Open victories. He is also a two time ATP World Player of the Year.
The last American male to win a Grand Slam event was Roddick in 2003. That was a decade ago.
As a country that prides itself on athletic dominance, it is a shame to not be able to have one respectable male performer.
The tennis competition is deep and unmerciful, and if Americans ever want to be able to compete again, they must show the sport more interest. This starts in the early ages.
With the rise of concussion awareness, it would seem that parents would be pushing their children to less violent sports, like tennis.
America has to get it together because quite frankly, we are all missing out.