HOOVER, Ala. -- The timing and the footwork weren't an issue. Konnor Pilkington fielded the bunt by shortstop Hal Hughes with plenty of time to turn and go to first base for an out, but the ball was wet and Pilkington didn't feel comfortable making the throw.
The worst was yet to come.
HOOVER, Ala. -- Gary Henderson didn't worry about starting Konnor Pilkington on short rest.
The Mississippi State interim coach watched his ace left-hander after he threw 100 pitches Thursday against No. 1 Florida. He was looking for the slightest indication something was off.
HOOVER, Ala. -- The Mississippi State baseball team committed only one error, but multiple mistakes contributed to its early departure from Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
STARKVILLE -- April was Riley Self's breakout month as a freshman.
With all but one of his 12 appearances coming against conference competition, Self logged 12 1/3 innings and allowed four earned runs, struck out 18, and recorded the first three saves of his Mississippi State baseball career.
This April was a lost month.
STARKVILLE -- Jake Gautreau saw the potential in March.
Despite a 13-12 record (1-5 in the Southeastern Conference), Gautreau saw the talent in the Mississippi State baseball team's lineup. The MSU assistant coach and recruiting coordinator left a 1-2 weekend in Columbia, Missouri, confident that the quality of the Bulldogs' at-bats was rising and that the results would come.
STARKVILLE -- Jake Mangum's legendary three years as Mississippi State's center fielder has contained nearly four times as many singles, 200, as all other extra-base hits, 55. Of those 55 multi-baggers, only two have left the yard. His first home run, as a freshman on April 2, 2016, opened scoring of a win over Ole Miss that clinched the series.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State has the luxury of knowing exactly what to expect from its No. 2 starting pitcher.
STARKVILLE -- April Thomas needed a starting point.
STARKVILLE -- The clues for Niclas Braun's playing style were evident from birth. All he had to do was look at his twin sister.
STARKVILLE -- The only thing beating the Mississippi State baseball team on Thursday was the unknown.
STARKVILLE -- Shiloh Park is tucked in between apartment complexes and a housing subdivision in Brandon on the eastern edge of Jackson.
STARKVILLE -- John Cohen didn't want to drag on.
The Mississippi State Director of Athletics knew he wasn't the star of this show. That being the case, all Cohen wanted to do was to list some of the athletic department's recent accomplishments and introduce the man in the corner of the room, new football coach Joe Moorhead.
KOSCIUSKO -- Payton Springfield knew the New Hope High School baseball team needed him.
If Springfield was good enough Friday night, he could help the Trojans secure a spot in the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A State championship series at Trustmark Park in Pearl.
Some of Nick Sims' teammates were busy running circle-like patterns in left field.
It was understandable why some of the members of the New Hope High School baseball team would be celebrating a dramatic victory in Game 1 of the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A North State championship series.
Sims was having none of it.
STARKVILLE -- Zach Neff is a couple of months past his 22nd birthday.
JP France is a month past his 23rd birthday.
But Neff and France are old men on a Mississippi State baseball team that routinely starts four freshmen.
STARKVILLE -- Last year, Nuno Borges was a top-five player and the Mississippi State men's tennis team was on the road for the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- JP France has earned a level of trust beyond the conventional wisdom.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Justin Foscue's first trip back to his home state as a Mississippi State Bulldog fell somewhere between dream and disappointment.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Keith Holcombe's night was almost nothing but swinging and missing. Alabama's left fielder, the same man who ended Friday night with three runs driven in on two hits, amassed three strikeouts in four at-bats through the first nine innings.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Slumping players expecting a revelatory thought from the mind of Mississippi State interim baseball coach Gary Henderson are going to leave disappointed. When his team was at its lowest on Friday night, having watched each of its last 12 batters sat down without a threat, he initiated a conversation that he (partially) joked has been had, "since the beginning of time."
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