2021 was a magical year for the folks in Starkville, Mississippi, as the boys in Maroon and White brought home a program first National Championship and cemented Mississippi State as one of the blue blood in College Baseball. For years, Mississippi State and their fans have always been close but never tasted the sweet taste of cigars until last season when the Bulldogs got hot and dominated the Vanderbilt Commodores in the Championship Series in Omaha.
Fast forward to this upcoming season and the biggest question surrounding it, does Mississippi State have the pieces to do it again this season? Or, will the Bulldogs take a step back still within contention but not the clear-cut favorite they were last season?
On paper, Mississippi State comes into the 2022 season as one of five elite teams in the country with a legitimate shot at winning a National Championship this season. It will come down to the veteran leadership returning for the Bulldogs to lead this program into a new season. Led by Logan Tanner at catcher, and Lane Forsythe at Short Stop for the infield for Mississippi State, and in the outfield, Mississippi State, has Rowdey Jordan back on the roster after a crazy postseason for the Bulldogs in 2021.
Mississippi State, however, has three major question marks remaining as the Bulldogs get ready for another run at a National Championship.
First, how do the Bulldogs replace a Mississippi State legend in Tanner Allen? Honestly, like in any sport, it’s hard to replace a guy who did so much for the program like Allen did for Mississippi State. Yet, it’s possible. Head Coach Chris Lemonis had put together a group of impressive recruits to carry the torch for the Bulldogs into the future, but in reality, Mississippi State will rely heavily on Rowdey Jordan, Logan Tanner, and Lane Forsythe to be the leaders in the 2022 season.
Second, what will Mississippi State do about their weekend rotation this season? Last season was a bit of a question mark as the Bulldogs made their way through the season with a few changes throughout the way leading to two starters for this season and third yet to be named. As of today, we expect to see Jackson Fristoe as the number one starter, Landon Sims as the number two, and maybe Cade Smith as the third-weekend starter for the Bulldogs.
Third, how does Mississippi State handle the pressure of being the defending National Champions with a challenging schedule in front of them? It’s a rather simple solution, go out each day and play Mississippi State baseball and let the rest take care of itself as only baseball can do.
Overall, Mississippi State is primed for another explosive season as the folks in Starkville get ready for another National Championship caliber season. Like many, I fully expect the Bulldogs to make a return trip to Omaha to contend for a second straight National Championship.
Mississippi State will open their season on February 18th as they welcome Long Beach State to Starkville, Mississippi, for a three-game series.