The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Six more days: Six of the best moments from the magical 2021 campaign

Adam Sullivan | The Reflector

Teamwork was instrumental in each win of the Diamond Dawgs’ 2021 campaign. 

Over the course of the 2021 baseball season, there were some moments that mere words simply cannot describe. As the old saying goes, “You had to be there.” With less than a week to go before opening day at Dudy Noble, let’s take a look at six of the best moments of the national title campaign, and try to narrow down the list. 

Number One

There were several moments during the 2021 campaign that surely made fans reach for their nitroglycerin pills, but nothing ever feels quite like the first one. 

In the home series against the Tulane Green Wave, Mississippi State University faced a tough out-of-conference test early in the season. After dropping the first game due to some fielding errors and missed opportunities at the plate, MSU was down by two runs. All of a sudden, though, a Rowdey Jordan single breathed some life into the Bulldogs. A Logan Tanner single followed, and an intentional walk of Tanner Allen. 

That left the bases loaded for Houston, Mississippi, native Luke Hancock, and boy did he deliver. Hancock hit a walk-off grand slam “straight into the Sanderson Center parking lot” as stated in The Reflector’s summary of the series. 

“That was the best moment of my life,” Hancock said after the game, but the new cardiac kids of Dudy Noble weren’t done yet. 

Number Two

As great as Hancock’s grand slam was, it only evened up the series between the two clubs. The next day, MSU would stake their case early on in the season as a team that never, ever gives up. 

In the top of the ninth inning, Tulane catcher Luis Alvies sent a two-run moonshot over the fence, giving the Green Wave the lead once more headed into the bottom half of the frame. 

Tanner Allen had other plans, though. The veteran outfielder took a full count, two out pitch right back up the center for a single, securing a second walk-off win and the series in front of the home crowd. 

The cardiac kids were here to make some noise, and make some noise they did. 

Number Three

The Ole Miss series – the one that every MSU fan had circled on the schedule. Not only was it Super Bulldog Weekend, but this would be the first time in a while one team had a true home field advantage, with the games being played in Pearl, Mississippi, since 2007. Finally, the school from up north was coming to town, and the boys in maroon and white were ready. 

Despite Ole Miss boasting the No. 6 overall national ranking, the Bulldogs manhandled the Rebels, only surrendering one run over the course of the whole weekend. It was clear who the best in the ‘Sip was at that point, and it was the Bulldogs. 

Number Four

Not every great moment goes how people might think. For instance, when MSU went on the road to take on Vanderbilt, they lost the series 2-1, but they proved something if not to the country, but to themselves. They could play with and beat anyone.

This was the biggest test that MSU had faced since the Arkansas series, in which they got swept 3-0. Although it wasn’t the result they had hoped for, the Diamond Dawgs’ road win over the Commodores showed just what they could become, and Chris Lemonis knew that. 

“We didn’t come here to win just one game,” Lemonis said to reporters after play had concluded. “We’re close, but we’re not the team we’re going to be yet. We’ve got to play better.”

Say less, coach. 

Number Five

Fast forward to after the Bulldogs toppled Notre Dame in the super regional, and they found themselves matched up with the University of Texas Longhorns in the biggest game of the season up to that point. 

It looked like MSU was in trouble yet again, but this is the cardiac kids, remember? Infielder Tanner Legget found himself in the batting lineup due to a need for some defensive help. Legget was never really in the game to light it up from the batter’s box, but nobody could have told him that after what happened when he stepped up in the bottom of the ninth. 

Legget walked it off to secure a 4-3 victory for MSU and send the Longhorns packing back to Austin. What happened next, though, will live in the hearts and minds of Bulldog fans everywhere.

Number Six

The big one the one that MSU fans will always remember that magical night in Omaha, Nebraska when Mississippi State University secured the first national title in school history. 

Right handed gunslinger Will Bednar pitched a no-hitter through six innings on short rest before the three-inning monster Landon Sims slammed the door on the Vanderbilt Commodores, and the dog pile commenced. MSU had wrapped it in maroon and white, and they were national champions. 

This upcoming season will undoubtedly be filled with great moments like these, but rest assured, Bulldog fans everywhere will always remember that glorious night in Omaha, even while they hope to do it all again in 2022.

About the Contributor
Tanner Marlar
Tanner Marlar, Former Managing Editor
Tanner Marlar served as the Managing Editor from 2022 to 2023. He also served as the Sports Editor from 2021 to 2022.
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Six more days: Six of the best moments from the magical 2021 campaign