Home, sweet home.
Mississippi State – for the first time in 353 days – was back playing a baseball game at Dudy Noble Field on Wednesday. The No. 5 Bulldogs celebrated by topping Jackson State 7-3 to improve to 3-1 for the young season.
Need a quick recap of what all went down? Look no further. See the video at the top of this page for a few highlights from the game. See below for a full boxscore, as well as Cowbell Corner's MVPs and the moment of the game.
Jackson State at Mississippi State boxscore
Offensive MVP: SS Kamren James
Kamren James went just 1-for-14 over Mississippi State's first three games of the season at the State Farm College Showdown. However the home cooking at Dudy Noble was apparently just what the doctor ordered to get MSU's shortstop off and running at the plate.
James slid down to the cleanup hole on Wednesday night after hitting in the No. 2 spot in the batting order against Texas, TCU and Texas Tech. State head coach Chris Lemonis noted it was a move done only because catcher Logan Tanner was out of the lineup on Wednesday, so to better balance out the batting order, Lemonis put James in the middle of the lineup since he was the only right-handed bat starting. No matter the reason, James sure looked the part of a cleanup hitter.
James busted away from his early-season struggles with a 4-for-5 showing on Wednesday. He had a home run and a double. He drove in three runs and scored two. Suddenly, James looked exactly like the potent offensive threat the Bulldogs believe him to be.
"I don't think there was any secret really," James said of his success on Wednesday. "I struggled a little bit in Texas. I told (hitting coach Jake Gautreau) I was seeing the ball well, things just weren't really going my way. So I just tried to stay confident in the (batter's) box, get a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it. I feel like I did that (Wednesday)."
Given the small sample size of this season, James' wonderful Wednesday helped him raise his bating average nearly 200 full points. It jumped from .071 all the way up to .263. And if James' day against Jackson State was any indication at all, that average might be climbing even higher here soon.
Want more from James? Here's his full postgame press conference:
Pitching MVP: RP Davis Rokose
Seven MSU pitchers saw action on Wednesday. And while several had strong nights, arguably no one was more impressive than left-hander Davis Rokose as he made his Bulldog debut.
Rokose worked two perfect innings of relief. He struck out four of the six hitters he faced, including all of the first three when he struck out the side in order in the third inning. Not bad for a first time on the mound in an official game. Not bad at all.
"I thought I pitched pretty well," Rokose said. "Definitely could have tweaked some things to do a little better, but it was just great to get out there for the first time and get my feet wet a little bit.
"The fastball and slider were working really well. I didn't feel the need to get my changeup working. It was good in the (bullpen), but I didn't need to use it in the game considering (Jackson State was) missing fastballs."
Want more from Rokose? Here's his full postgame press conference:
Moment of the Game: James' two-run shot in the first inning
Mississippi State was in control of things all night long on Wednesday and it all started with James' aforementioned two-run home run in the first inning.
After Brandon Smith started and worked a perfect opening frame, Tanner Allen got MSU's bats cooking with a two-out double in the home half of the first. James followed with his shot over the wall in left-centerfield. The Bulldogs had a 2-0 lead and the Tigers got no closer the rest of the day.
For more on Wednesday's game, CLICK HERE TO WATCH MSU HEAD COACH CHRIS LEMONIS' PRESS CONFERENCE AS HE BREAKS DOWN THE WIN.