Colton Ledbetter provides grand finale in Mississippi State baseball win vs Arizona State

On Friday, the Mississippi State baseball team experienced an ugly loss to Arizona State, dropping their record to 3-3. After the game, fans expressed their displeasure with the team’s struggles from last season, leading to coaches making decisions such as benching players or even firing them. These decisions ranged from coaches firing players to benching them.

On Saturday and Sunday, Mississippi State University (MSU) triumphed with a score of 5-1. This marks the first time since April of last year, during the previous season, that Mississippi State (5-3) has secured a series victory against a Power Five opponent, specifically Ole Miss. These opinions were quite heated.

Chris Lemonis, the coach of MSU, said that Sunday was by far the best game of the season, as the Bulldogs unleashed three home runs and 15 hits against the Sun Devils, resulting in a 5-2 victory.

GAME 1: Cade Smith faces challenges as Mississippi State baseball loses the first game of the series against Arizona State.

GAME 2: Mississippi State baseball levels the series against Arizona State with the help of Graham Yntema and Evan Siary.

‘THE MOST FASCINATING ASPECT’: Switch-pitcher Jurrangelo Cijntje begins for the baseball team of Mississippi State.

Ledbetter Colton, a transfer from Samford, opened the season as MSU’s most consistent hitter, collecting nine hits in the first five games of the series against the Devils on Sunday.

Ledbetter caught a flyball headed toward the outfield lounges before recording a single RBI in the third game. He bounced back in a big way, starting Saturday’s game with the second batter.

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Pitcher Graham Yntema expressed on Saturday, “Throughout the remaining duration of the game, it provided us with a considerable amount of vitality and was truly remarkable. That’s the kind of teammate you desire positioned in the outfield behind you.”

Ledbetter completed 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs batted in on Saturday before carrying the momentum into Sunday.

He completed 2-for-2, and then he hit a powerful home run to right field, significantly impacting the game, when the count was 3-1 in the fourth inning. Prior to this significant hit in his early career at MSU, he was awarded a walk in his first two attempts at batting.

MSU’s young pitching shines

What began with impressive performances from freshmen Bradley Loftin and Jurrangelo Cijntje in a midweek series against Louisiana Monroe has now been extended to a successful weekend, thanks to their fellow young pitchers.

He was followed by Cole Cheatham, a sophomore who threw a scoreless frame. After rough outings on Friday, freshman Brock Tapper stepped in to throw 3⅔ scoreless innings, relieving Cade Smith, the starter for KC Hunt.

Nate Dohm, a sophomore at State Ball, pitched a shoutout for 3⅓ innings before Evan Siary, a freshman, allowed one run in the next five innings. Yntema, a college junior and sophomore product, struggled after his start on Saturday in the opening weekend. Hunt took on the role after Yntema’s performance.

“Seeing them, it kind of lights a fire up under everybody,” catcher Luke Hancock said. “Seeing freshmen succeed, everybody wants to succeed.”.

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First-year student Will Gibbs concluded Sunday’s game with a inning without allowing any runs.

Lineup decisions still loom

In the series, Bryce Chance had a batting average of 1 out of 9 with a run batted in (RBI). Hunter Hines had a batting average of 5 out of 11 with a home run and three RBIs. Kellum Clark had a batting average of 1 out of 8 with an RBI. Luke Hancock had a batting average of 2 out of 8 with an RBI, three walks, and being hit by a pitch. Ross Highfill had a batting average of 2 out of 4 with three RBIs.

Situated in the defensive force assignments, however, they have found a way to showcase promising depth for Mississippi State University with second baseman Larry Amani and Forsythe Lane, who are adept at hitting.

Mississippi State baseball outfielder Colton Ledbetter watches as his home run fly against Arizona State on Feb. 26, 2023, at Dudy Noble Field.

As Chance or Hines departs and Hancock takes over at first base, Highfill, despite his defensive struggles, has shown improvement in his draft stock and has returned as the team’s captain, now playing strongly behind the plate as a catcher.

Making difficult decisions is what creates it, and they are all available and clicking when needed. Lemonis, depending on the struggles and injuries, is likely to have a good problem on his hands. Lemonis has put Chance in the right field, where Clark knocks a few times out of the lineup.

What’s next?

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