/USM starts fast, trouncing State 11-0 in season opener

USM starts fast, trouncing State 11-0 in season opener

Sandlin performed admirably in his new role and his teammates provided plenty of support. He won an 11-0 win over Mississippi State in front of a crowd of 4,948 at Pete Taylor Park. Andy Cannizaro, Mississippi State’s coach, said it best: “Sandlin is phenomenal.” He was the best player tonight,” he said, going seven innings and allowing only four hits while striking out nine Bulldogs. To complete his longest game since high school, he needed 93 pitches. Sandlin stated, “I wanted it to start and that felt good.” “But you won’t lose many games when you teammates get you eleven runs.” It’s a sweet, humble thing to say. But you should also know that the game was scoreless through three innings, and USM led by four runs after six. State’s Konnor Pillkington, a projected first round MLB draft pick, was a lights-out starter, giving Sandlin very little room for error. Sandlin was up for the challenge – and more. It was no surprise that State standout Jake Mangum was a teammate in Sandlin’s last summer at the Cape Cod League. Mangum stated, “Mentally Nick is so strong.” He doesn’t shy away from any situation. He’s tough. He throws three pitches for strikes, from many different arm slots, and was hitting 93 mph on the gun. He’s outstanding. He beat us tonight.” It’s impossible to know what score would have been if it weren’t for Mangum’s three run-saving catch. Mangum caught a highlight reel catch when he came in for one of the balls, ran it back to the wall for the second, then outran the ball and caught a long fly to the right-center. He also scored two of the Bulldogs six hits. This match was a replay of the NCAA regional championship round championship round last season, when the Bulldogs won two games in one to end the Golden Eagles’ school record 50-victory season. Although Scott Berry was not there to witness it, it was USM’s 300th career win. Berry is currently serving a two-game suspension due to an altercation with an umpire during the last game last year’s regional. He watched the game from his office computer, as he will for the second game. Berry answered the question, “Yes, it was.” Berry said, “You know, I have never been to adult timeout before.” Chad Caillet was Berry’s long-serving assistant and was joined by Christian Ostrander, the pitching coach, who made his USM debut following his move from Louisiana Tech, a Conference USA rival. Ostrander stated that Sandlin’s first time was a natural result of the weeks of practice. He was easy to start – or at least it wasn’t as difficult as some people make it seem. He can pitch flat.” If the first game is any indication, USM can hit. Luke Reynolds, a State transfer, impressed in his USM debut. He had a double and single, as well as two RBIs. Matt Guidry hit a home run, and missed two more. Cole Donaldson, the catcher, added two more hits as did LeeMarcus Boyd, the shortstop. Guidry is batting eighth, Boyd ninth. It is rare for college teams to have such great pop so late in the order. Cannizaro stated, “They are a strong, physical team.” But this is only one game. It doesn’t have any bearing on what happens tomorrow or Sunday. This is the beauty of baseball.”