The Notebook: 1-27

This is more story than note, but I wanted to lead off today’s Notebook with something that happened at the Mississippi State-Harvard tennis match on Saturday.

I wasn’t there, but as the story was told to me, a young lady came knocking on the press box door early on in the match. Upon entry, she told those in the room she had lost her car keys.

KVWQZKAVWWIIHKA.20120531212415Or key, actually. Singular. She just had the one key in her pocket and lost it somewhere between her parked car and stands at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. Could be in the grass, could be beneath the bleachers, anywhere. A near-literal needle in a haystack.

They told her no one had returned a key, but they took down her information so they could call in case someone turned it in later.

“I wasn’t very optimistic,” assistant A.D. for media relations John Cade told me. “What are the odds someone finds that single key? And then, that they actually bring it to the press box?”

The match went on and the lost key fell out of mind as easily as it had fallen out of pocket.

Until a knock on the door. Whoever it was went ahead and opened the press box door without making someone get up. He leaned in and asked, “Has anyone lost a key?”

“Yes, actually, they have,” Cade answered.

When he turned around, University President Mark Keenum was standing in the doorway holding out the lost car key.

So they called the young lady and told her that not only had her key been found, but Dr. Keenum himself had scooped it up and returned it.

Anyway, there are a lot of baseball notes and observations to come, but while we’re on tennis, MSU’s men’s and women’s teams should be congratulated for some impressive wins over the weekend.

Per Nilsson’s men’s group had two particularly entertaining matches, going down to the wire with Harvard on Saturday and against Memphis on Sunday, beating both of their ranked opponents in dramatic fashion. The No. 13 Bulldogs, with the wins, have now advanced to the ITA National Indoors.

The women’s team had an equally entertaining win on the road Sunday, taking down San Jose State as part of the ITA Kickoff Classic.

Also on Sunday, MSU’s women’s basketball team got a big SEC win at The Hump over Missouri. There were several good performances, including yet another double-double by Martha Alwal, but none as impressive as the 21-point output by freshman Dominique Dillingham, who hit five three-pointers over the course of the game.

Onto baseball: the Diamond Dawgs scrimmaged twice this weekend, once each on Saturday and Sunday. Stats, videos and the story from Saturday’s scrimmage can be found here, while the same from Sunday can be found here.

ZAGYIMQRIQJBAFB.20130228190120The highlight of the weekend, to me at least, was the pitching. 15 scouts watched Saturday as John Cohen rolled out stud after stud, including starting pitchers Brandon Woodruff and Ben Bracewell.

The older guys we’re familiar with, but several young or new pitchers stood out over the course of the weekend. The two freshman starters on Sunday – Dakota Hudson (named Pitcher of the Week) and Austin Sexton – will be in the running for the starting rotation this spring and both pitched well, as did John Marc Shelly, who retired eight-straight batters at one point on Sunday.

Another name to know is Paul Young. I was a tad surprised to see the JUCO transfer on the mound so soon, thinking he was still recovering from injury. He may not be ready when the season starts, but he’s got the potential to end up as a high-level weekend starter for MSU if he gets fully healthy. Good to see him out there.

Off the mound, some intriguing battles are developing, particularly at catcher and shortstop.

Matthew Britton and Seth Heck seemed to go back and forth all weekend with big plays in the field over the course of the weekend and that’s a battle I’d expect to continue into the season at shortstop. Both are strong on defense, so it may be a matter of who steps up at the plate.

Other quick notes: Senior third baseman Alex Detz (named Player of the Week) gets on base like a machine. Jake Vickerson (younger brother of Nick Vickerson) may be a darkhorse to watch at one of the corner outfield spots. After doing so in the fall, senior center fielder CT Bradford pitched some more this weekend, so it seems he may be doing more of that this season, made easier by the depth in outfield.

We’ll have more from The Dude as MSU nears its season-opener on February 14th and continues pre-season scrimmages.

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