Mississippi State's irrepressible Jake Mangum was hitting for a .401 average coming into this week. He had stolen 20 bases. As a centerfielder, he uses sprinter's speed to catch balls others can't reach. He turns triples into outs. He is the heart and soul of a team that has won 42 games while losing 10.
This past weekend brought a drive through the Delta on a road not traveled in recent years. We were headed north on U.S. 49 East on a sunny spring Sunday, just passing the community of Sidon, when I saw the sign: “Willye B. White Memorial Highway.”
The plan seemed a sound one to this wizened sports writer. Mississippi State's Jake Mangum had pulled to within four hits of the all-time Southeastern Conference hits record. The Bulldogs had a three-game weekend series coming up with Georgia.
Vic Schaefer's Mississippi State Bulldogs lost four starters from last season's SEC championship team.
They lost their leading scorer, first-team All-American Victoria Vivians. They lost 90 percent of their 3-point shooting. Seven weeks ago, they lost their best 3-point shooter this season, Chloe Bibby.