Top 10 Mississippi State sports stories for 2013

December 27, 2013 11:46:44 AM

Matthew Stevens - [email protected]


1. MISSISSIPPI STATE BASEBALL REACHES CWS FINALS: MSU won the Starkville Regional and Charlottesville Super Regional on its way to face UCLA in its first CWS championship series against UCLA. MSU scored one run in 18 innings and dropped 3-1 and 8-0 decisions to finish the season 51-20. 


2. EGG BOWL VICTORY: Dak Prescott engineered a fourth-quarter comeback against Ole Miss that helped MSU qualify for a bowl game for its fourth-straight season for the first time in program history. MSU also has won six or more games in four consecutive campaigns for the first time since 1997-2000. MSU coach Dan Mullen has defeated Ole Miss in four of the last five meetings, making him the second coach to do that, and the first to accomplish the feat since 1950. 


3. MSU SELECTED AS NCAA BASEBALL REGIONAL HOST: For the first time in a decade, Dudy Noble Field was the host of a NCAA regional game. MSU closed the season by winning seven of its last nine games, including a 3-1 showing at the Southeastern Conference tournament in Hoover, Ala. MSU's 2013 resume included a Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) ranking of 10 and a record of 21-15 against schools in the RPI's top 50. The Bulldogs played the toughest SEC schedule that featured 10 opponents with an average RPI ranking of 25.1. 


4. RENFROE DRAFTED IN FIRST ROUND: Junior outfielder Hunter Renfroe was selected 13th overall by the San Diego Padres in the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft. He was the 12th player in MSU history to be taken in the first round of the draft. 


5. MSU MEN'S BASKETBALL BEATS OLE MISS TO END 13-GAME LOSING STREAK: A 73-67 victory against Ole Miss on March 2 at Humphrey Coliseum followed a week that featured coach Rick Ray speaking to 17 Greek houses and student organizations. MSU's fourth-straight win against Ole Miss in Starkville marked the Bulldogs' first victory against team ranked in the top 100 of the RPI. 


6. GABE JACKSON WINS CONERLY TROPHY: Senior left guard Gabe Jackson was named the 2013 C Spire Conerly Trophy winner. The trophy is given annually to the student-athlete voted the most outstanding collegiate football player in the state of Mississippi. He is the first offensive lineman to receive the award. 


7. OWEN DOMINATES IN PITCHING CIRCLE: Junior pitcher Allison Owen broke the softball team's single-game school record with 15 strikeouts in a complete-game, two-hit shutout of Wichita State. The performance came six days after Owen tied the previous mark of 14, which was last set twice in 1998. One day later, Owen returned to the circle and broke her school record with a 16-strikeout performance against Southern Illinois at Edwardsville. The Newnan, Ga., native fanned the entire Cougars' lineup consecutively to start the game, becoming the first pitcher in school history to record nine-straight strikeouts. The career-high 16 strikeouts marked the most by a SEC pitcher in a seven-inning game in 2013. 


8. MSU GOLF, ALLY MCDONALD DOMINATE: Sophomore Ally McDonald shot a 10-under-par 206 to win the individual title by five strokes at the NCAA Central Regional in Norman, Okla. McDonald also claimed the 111th North & South Women's Amateur title with a 3&2 victory against Cindy Feng at Pinehurst No. 2. Following a season that included a school-record four tournament victories, the MSU men's golf team received a No. 4 seed and placed in the Baton Rouge, La. for its first NCAA Regional appearance in three years.  


9. MSU VOLLEYBALL SWEEPS DOUBLEHEADER: For the first time in school history, the MSU volleyball team notched consecutive 3-0 sweeps against SEC opponents (South Carolina and Tennessee) on Oct. 18 and Oct. 20 in the Newell-Grissom Building. 


10. MSU GETS PENALTIES FROM NCAA FOLLOWING RECRUITING VIOLATIONS: The NCAA Committee of Infractions hit the MSU football program with a loss of scholarships and a number of other recruiting violations. The penalties came as a result of recruiting wrongdoings involving cornerback Will Redmond. MSU was placed on probation for two years, had its number of scholarships reduced from 85 to 83 this fall, its number of official visits reduced from 41 to 39 for two years, and its number of recruiting days in the spring evaluation period reduced from 168 to 164. Former MSU wide receivers coach Angelo Mirando was given a one-year show cause ban from coaching at a NCAA institution for "unethical conduct for failing to report the booster's activities when he became aware of them and providing false information during his first two interviews with the NCAA." Redmond was required to pay $2,660 in impermissible benefits, forfeit his eligibility for the 2012 season, and was suspended first five games of the 2013 season. 


-- List compiled by Matthew Stevens