SEC Baseball Tournament 2012: Why Mississippi State's Win over LSU Was No Fluke

Ben Chodos@bchodosCorrespondent IIMay 23, 2012

Mississippi State squeaked out a huge 3-2 upset over LSU on Wednesday, and this will not be the only big win for the Bulldogs going forward.

The Tigers were the country's seventh-ranked team heading into the SEC Tournament, while the Bulldogs sat at 29th, according to NCAA rankings.

The Diamond Dogs finished the regular season on fire, sweeping No. 19 Kentucky in a three-game series. In the last game of the year, Mississippi State thrashed the Wildcats 11-3.

The tournament follows a double-elimination format, so the top-seeded Tigers are still alive following the loss. But the Bulldogs are playing like the new favorites.

The team won easily in their first game against against Arkansas after a monster six-run ninth inning to make the final score 9-1. This was their first SEC Tournament win since 2005.

But this year's team is different from past squads. Head coach John Cohen sums up what makes this team special, via the Mississippi State Athletics website.

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These kids are winners. They want to win so badly. They will do whatever it takes to win. They are winners. That is why it is fun to be around them every day. They understand what it takes to be successful on this level.

The win against LSU was a pitchers' duel, and MSU ace Chris Stratton was on point the whole way through his six innings of work. He tossed eight strikeouts and allowed just two earned runs. He is now 11-1 on the season.

Stratton has had the Tigers' number this season. Last time he faced them, he recorded a ridiculous 17 strikeouts. If the two teams end up meeting later in the tournament, Cohen likely will not hesitate to get his ace on the mound.

The Bulldogs proved they could win with their bats against Arkansas, then showed that they could grind out a victory in a defensive battle against LSU. The team has now won five games in a row.

The type of momentum MSU has right now poses a serious threat to other SEC teams. The win against the Tigers was no accident. The Bulldogs are for real, and the team will continue to turn heads as the tournament goes on.


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