Campus Connection: Mississippi State
Location: Starkville, MS
Home Field: Dudy Noble Field (1976; 330-390-326)
Seating: 9,000 (13,000 in 2019)
Head Coach: Chris Lemonis (1st Season)
Conference Titles: 1979, 1985, 1987, 1990, 2001, 2005, 2012
NCAA College World Series Appearances: 1971, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1997, 1998, 2007, 2013, 2018, 2019
National Runner Ups: 2013
Just the Facts:
- In a season that began with their head coach resigning just days into the campaign and a 2-7 start in league play, the Bulldogs finished 2018 by making their 10th trip to the College World Series. Under the guidance of interim head coach Gary Henderson, the Bulldogs rebounded to a 31-24 overall record to earn a No. 2 spot in the Tallahassee Regional.
- Dudy Noble Field, known affectionately as The New Dude, recently underwent a $55 million dollar facelift that was completed prior to the beginning of the 2018 season. The stadium now features 9,000 seats (up from 7,200) an HD video board, berm seating, a kids’ play area and a constant view of the game, which the stadium previously lacked. In 2019, the stadium will also include 12 two-bedroom lofts in left field.
- In addition to a new stadium, Mississippi State will be under the direction of a new coach for the 2019 season. Former Indiana head coach Chris Lemonis directed the Hoosiers to the NCAA regionals in three of the last four years and helped lead Louisville to three College World Series as the Cardinals’ top assistant. After 24 years of coaching, Lemonis boasts a 786-457 overall record with three 50-win seasons.
- If you’ve ever been to a game in Starkville, you’ve experienced Mississippi State’s trademark cowbells. While no one is 100% positive of the origin, the most popular legend is that a jersey cow wandered into the playing field while the Bulldogs were playing archrival Ole Miss. Mississippi State would go on to win the game, leading to the cow being a fixture at every game and eventually the cowbells.
- Mitch Moreland: A dual-position athlete for the Bulldogs that’s made a name for himself after nine seasons in the league. Mitch spent his first seven seasons in the league with the Rangers, where he won the Rawlings AL Gold Glove in 2016 and the past seasons two with the Red Sox. He was named to the 2018 AL All-Star team.
- Adam Frazier: Pirates fans know Frazier for his hitting, having served as their leadoff man in more than half of their games in 2017 and on opening day for 2018, but in his three years as a Bulldog, it was his speed that turned heads. The second baseman swiped 22 bags in three seasons at Mississippi State while collecting 224 hits, accumulating a career batting average of .348.
- Hunter Renfroe: In 2017, Renfroe broke the San Diego Padres rookie home run record by going yard 26 times throughout the season. He’s also landed himself a National League Player of the Week award and played in two Future Games. During his time at Mississippi State, the right-fielder made 131 starts in 140 appearances and hit 20 long balls while driving in 94 runs.
- Will Clark: Will “The Thrill” Clark made several stops during his 14-year MLB career, including stints with the Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals; however, it was his first seven years in San Francisco when Clark really shined. Known for his picturesque swing, Clark was named to five All-Star-games during those first seven seasons and helped the Giants clinch the NL Pennant in 1989.
- Buck Showalter: There are Bulldog greats and then there is Buck Showalter. As a Bulldog in the late ‘70s, Buck was an All-American, setting a Mississippi State record by batting a mind-boggling .459 in 1977 before getting drafted fifth overall by the New York Yankees. After seven seasons in the minors Showalter shifted his focus to managing. He would go on to helm the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rangers and currently leads the Baltimore Orioles.