When a game goes 13 innings, there's going to be some bullshit. So let's just get that out of the way right off.
In the top of the first inning, following a lead-off double, Ethan "Chili P" Paul went full Chuck Knoblauch on a routine grounder to him, and the throwing error caused the first run to score for the people in the stands who couldn't get into the University of Mississippi (*more on this later).
Sheffield, coming off a perfect game/no hit bid into the 8th inning against Xavier, was not crisp, but he was being taunted with an inconsistent strike zone. Of course, the strike zone was inconsistent for all, and I can't say my black and gold colored glasses didn't affect my perception, but an inconsistent strike zone does not a great game make.
Sheffield battled through 2-0 counts through most of his 6 innings of work, and loaded 'em up a few times, but to his credit, got out of each jam - giving up only the 1 unearned run in his time on the mound.
In the 7th, Sheff yielded to Matthew Ruppenthal and his Magic Curvenball, who threw 7 innings of one run ball himself. Now that run... oh that run... it angered me.
With one down in the 13th, MSU SS Luke Alexander blooped a single just over the second baseman. It was not hit hard. There was no earthly reason someone would not be able to get out of the way of this. And yet... the second base umpire booted it, thereby giving Alexander second base. Following a strikeout, Cole Gordon blooped him home, and the Commodores were too tired to rally in the bottom of the 13th.
We did have our chances, of course, and our lone run did happen when Toffey reached on an error and scored on an Alonzo Jones liner to center. However, our biggest chance occurred in the 11th. Toffey lead off with a single. Jones - who should have continued to fake bunt with the count at 2-0, but whatever - swapped places with him at first on a fielder's choice. Then, Jason Delay singled over the second baseman's head, and it looked like we were going to get a 1st and 3rd with one out. I mean, no one's throwing out Jones with his speed. And it really looked like he made it... however, the umpires saw it differently. Kyle Smith followed with a double down the line - which would have scored Jones, obviously - but Delay doesn't exactly have Jones's wheels, so he had to pull up at 3rd. Penn Murfee loaded them, but Walker Grisanti fell victim to the home plate umpire's erratic strike zone, and went down looking.
We never threatened again.
*Back to the asterisked promise at the end of the 2nd paragraph: I just want to point out that the admissions requirements of Ole Miss are a 19 on the ACT - which, in SAT terms, is the equivalent of signing your name with an X on the test, and not drenching it with too much dip spit so as to make it illegible. I only know this because a friend who works in college counseling at a fancy pants high school told me this after I asked him how he keeps up the school's "100% of our students get into college" promise. Mississippi State, aside from their agriculture and perhaps engineering programs, is fully populated by students who couldn't meet these stringent academic requirements. The lady friend (who went to a top private university herself) tires of my Vanderbilt based elitism from time to time, and made me admit at breakfast (at the Pancake Pantry, of course), that one can get a quality education anywhere, so I should stop intimating Mississippi State students/fans were glorified Duck Dynasty extras (I replied, "In my defense, I never said 'glorified'. I said 'rejected'"). I admitted it, as of course it's true. Having taught at a non-fancy pants (but still flagship) university for nigh on a decade, I knew that there were some students who would have succeeded at the very top institutions in our country, and that these students got world class educations from world class professors and instructors. However, I was quick to point out, many of these students confided in me over the years that they only wished their classmates were close to being on their level, so their peers in class discussion would have been able to push them to reconsider their initial stances, or at the very least, push them to clarify their points. Their professors always did this, but that's not exactly the same.
My point? Mississippi State's admissions requirements make Ole Miss admissions requirements look practically ivy covered:
A minimum 2.50 grade-point average on the CPC and a composite score of 16 or higher on the ACT or a combined score of 770 or higher on the SAT. A minimum 2.0 grade-point average on the CPC and a composite score of 18 or higher on the ACT or a combined score of 860 or higher on the SAT.
We had such people on either side of us at the game.
My second point? By the end of last night's near 5 hour baseball game, the lady friend said, "This might just be the accent, but everything they said seemed so dumb..."
Wasn't the accent.
Tonight, we need to bring the bats and send a statement.
Saturday, March 19 7:30pm SECN
LHP Ben "Dat Gun" Bowden (2-0, 4.50) vs. RHP Austin "The Change" Sexton (2-1, 3.70)
Corbs, can you do me a favor and put Grisanti in instead of Ro? Or at the very least, get Ro out of the lead off spot? And onto the bench? And put in Grisanti in his stead?
Please and thank you.
Tonight, we get our revenge.
And free #vandyboys bucket hats.
But mostly revenge.