Mississippi State routinely sets attendance records in college baseball. They may have set an attendance record of another sort Saturday night - the quietest gathering of 13,452 people ever assembled to watch a college baseball game.
STARKVILLE -- All Blake Smith could do was stare into right field.
STARKVILLE -- As Jake Mangum stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday, Dudy Noble Field came to life.
STARKVILLE -- After not having a player taken last year, the Mississippi State baseball team had a school-record 11 players selected in the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
STARKVILLE -- Ryan Rigby stood in the bullpen and watched sparingly as Zac Houston loaded the bases Sunday. The Mississippi State sophomore right-hander didn't have time to fixate on Houston because he was locked into his warmup. But Rigby knew he was about to enter in a tough spot.
STARKVILLE -- Zach Gibbons wanted to have a big junior season. After being a big part of the Arizona baseball team in 2014, he struggled in 2015 as the Wildcats had another losing season. That didn't sit well with Gibbons, so he worked hard in the summer and fall to get back on track.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State baseball junior right-handed pitcher Dakota Hudson was expected to go in the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft. Hudson probably didn't think it would come down to the wire, but he had to wait until pick No. 34, the last pick of the first round, before the St. Louis Cardinals selected him.
STARKVILLE -- Dakota Hudson has every right to throw a huge party to celebrate his future.
STARKVILLE -- Gavin Collins isn't passing the blame. The Mississippi State junior third baseman recognizes his defensive struggles. Collins, who is playing third base for the first time in his college career, has committed 17 errors and has a fielding percentage of .898.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Southeastern Conference and ESPN announced Tuesday the game times and networks for the first three weekends of the college football schedule. Mississippi State will play host to South Alabama in its season opener at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 3 (SEC Network). MSU will welcome South Carolina to Davis Wade Stadium for its SEC opener at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10. ESPN or ESPN2 will televise the game. MSU's game at LSU will be at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. ESPN or ESPN2 will broadcast the game.
STARKVILLE -- There was no dog pile after Ryan Rigby flipped the baseball to Nathaniel Lowe at first base to record the last out. The Mississippi State baseball team had reason to celebrate Sunday night after a 4-0 victory against Louisiana Tech helped it win the Starkville Regional and advance to the NCAA tournament's Super Regionals. Nobody would have blamed MSU if it showed emotion and basked in the moment. But that wasn't the case because MSU has higher aspirations.
STARKVILLE -- Erica Bougard is ready for another challenge. The Mississippi State track and field standout has prepared all season to compete on the national stage. As she counts down the time to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Bougard is confident her training has put her in great position to realize her goals.
Don't tell Carly Thibault she can't do something. Al Lewis attempted to influence Carly in high school by bringing her back slowly from injuries. Mike Thibault tried to do it years ago when he encouraged Carly and his son, Eric, not to follow in his footsteps and become a basketball coach. Carly's passion for basketball won out on both occasions.
STARKVILLE -- A two-hour, 10-minute rain delay Sunday couldn't stop Mississippi State's party. Playing host to a baseball regional for the second time in four seasons, No. 4 Mississippi State stamped its super regional invite with a 4-0 victory against Louisiana Tech that finished a few minutes shy of Monday morning.
STARKVILLE -- Zac Houston may have been more excited than Ryan Rigby. After giving up a walk, a hit, and another walk to load the bases, though, Houston had three big reasons to be equally worried. That's the situation Houston handed over to Rigby with no outs in the top of the seventh inning and the No. 4 Mississippi State baseball team leading Louisiana Tech 4-0.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen knew it would be a long shot for a ball to get out of Dudy Noble Field on Sunday night. Not only was the wind was blowing in, but the air also was heavier after a two-hour, 10-minute rain delay. As a result, Cohen, who played for the Bulldogs at Dudy Noble Field, realized his offense was going to have to eschew the home run and take another approach to win.
STARKVILLE -- Brandon McBride had high hopes last year for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships. After winning the national title in the 800 meters as a sophomore in 2014, the Mississippi State track and field athlete hoped to win another championship. He had a target on his back, though, and finished sixth.
OXFORD -- Jake Rogers hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning to lead the second-seeded Tulane baseball team to a 6-5 victory against top-seeded Ole Miss in an elimination game of the NCAA tournament's Oxford Regional on Saturday. "He threw me a fastball in, and I turned on it pretty well," Rogers said. "I knew he kind of relied on his breaking stuff. He kind of hung one and I got enough on it to help the team win.
STARKVILLE -- Austin Sexton watched in awe as a defining play unveiled in front of him. The Mississippi State right-hander found himself in trouble after giving up a leadoff double to Cal State Fullerton's Scott Hurst in the sixth inning. Hurst pounded the ball off the right-field wall and then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jerrod Bravo, prompting MSU coach John Cohen to bring his infield in with a one-run lead. It paid off.
STARKVILLE -- The last two outings haven't been kind to Dakota Hudson. The Mississippi State junior right-hander allowed four runs on nine hits in five innings to LSU last week in the Southeastern Conference tournament. On Friday against Southeast Missouri State in the opener of the Starkville Regional, he threw a season-low 3 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on four hits. Ryan Rigby and Daniel Brown allowed one run on three hits in 5 2/3 innings of relief to bail out Hudson and help MSU win 9-5 and advance to the winners' bracket.
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