It's official: Mississippi State's 4-3 loss to Tennessee on Friday night ended the Bulldogs' chances of making it to the SEC Tournament.
Now, the Diamond Dawgs will have to wait a bit longer for their next chance to take the field. The 2022 season has been plagued by hurt pitchers, less-than-ideal performances and disappointing losses. Despite this, there were still expectations that the defending national champions would at least be able to make it to the conference tournament. After the team was officially eliminated, head coach Chris Lemonis said he felt at fault for the way his athletes fared this season.
"We've had injuries, we've had other stuff, but we should still play good enough to get in," Lemonis said. "I mean, I just have done a poor job of having these guys ready."
There's nothing that Lemonis can do to salvage the tough 2022 season. The time has come for him and his staff to look toward the future. Lucky for Bulldogs fans, he plans to do just that -- and quickly.
"We'll be out on the road real soon, and I'll be one of them," Lemonis said. "I'll be out on the road a bunch this summer and watching kids and, you know, evaluating the future."
Lemonis will be looking to bring in plenty of talent to replace a key group of Diamond Dawgs that will be leaving in the offseason. Star pitcher Landon Sims and catcher Logan Tanner are both projected to be picked early in the 2022 MLB Draft. Seniors Luke Hancock and Brad Cumbest are expected to move on from the Maroon and White. Others could also choose to forego their extra seasons of eligibility in pursuit of bigger dreams.
It's been a long time since Mississippi State has struggled throughout an entire season; this year's fall is even harder after a long stretch of postseason success. However, Lemonis will not let this deter him from surrounding his returning players with the best that he can find. By next season, he plans to be back on top in the world of college baseball.
"We're building it back quick, I can tell you that. We'll build it back quick," Lemonis said.