CWS Primer: Mississippi State
Omaha History: 9 CWS appearances
Overview: Mississippi State is an ode to the power of the SEC. They finished fifth place in the regular season, but they still managed to battle through Regionals and Super Regionals to end up in the College World Series. The Bulldogs are an interesting team, because they don’t excel at any one thing. They do feature a pitching staff that ranks 11th in the nation in ERA. And that staff is filled with swing-and-miss inducing pitchers that rank 13th in strikeouts per nine innings. And they do rank fourth in the country in double plays. There is an argument to be made that the Bulldogs are a pitching and defense based team. However, it’s a non-traditional pitching staff. Their starters are not the strength. The Bulldogs real pitching strength comes from a brilliant bullpen. On the offensive side of things, Mississippi State hits .297 as a team, but they don’t rank in the top 40 in any of the other major categories.
Road To Omaha: They took the road less traveled through Regionals. The Bulldogs are one of only two teams in the CWS that lost a single game in their region. The Bulldogs bounced back in the Super Regionals by sweeping national seed Virginia.
Players To Watch:
Hunter Renfroe: He might be the most electric player in the entire country. It’s very rare that you find a true five-tool talent. Renfroe is one of those rarities. He’s like the unicorn of baseball. Renfroe hits for average and power as you can see from his .360 average and 15 home runs. He also possesses elite speed, good fielding ability, and he has a cannon for an arm. Renfroe was selected 13th overall by the Padres in this year‘s draft.
Ross Mitchell: He owns one of the strangest stat lines you’ll ever see. Mitchell is not a starting pitcher, but he is the owner of a 12-0 record. He also pitched 86.2 innings out of the bullpen which is more than many starters pitch. Mitchell owns a shiny 1.35 ERA, and he’s one of the biggest reasons the Bulldogs team ERA is so low. He’s also a big reason why the Mississippi State pitching staff is powered by their bullpen and not their starters.
Take The Title If…: If the Bulldogs can continue to get to their bullpen with a lead they will be one of the toughest outs in the CWS and maybe even win a title.
A Quick Trip If…: If the Bulldogs offense can’t come to life outside of Renfroe and Adam Frazier they could be doomed. Those two provide a potent punch, but against CWS-level pitching staffs the rest of the batting order will need to step up.
Why Should Omaha Cheer For Them?: Have you seen their mascot? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vEuk4qLWX8 How can you cheer against that dog? How?