03 Jun

the bell tolls

While so much attention was given to who wasn’t starting for Mississippi State on Friday night, maybe a little more should have gone to the guy who did start for South Alabama. Randy Bell, a senior right-hander from Woodville, threw a six-hitter to take down the Bulldogs 6-3 in the first round of the Hattiesburg Regional. Handed an early lead – former D’Iberville High star Dylan Hardy led off the game with a home run to spark a three-run first inning — Bell threw 123 pitches, fanned three and walked two. He limited the top three hitters in State’s lineup – Ryan Gridley, SEC player of the year and Ferriss Trophy winner Brent Rooker and Jake Mangum – to two hits in 11 at-bats. “You say the story of tonight was Randy Bell,’’ USA coach Mark Calvi said in a school release. State coach Andy Cannizaro said Bell was “outstanding.” Bell improved to 7-3 on the year, winning an NCAA regional game for the second straight season. He won a lot of big games at Hinds Community College, as well, nine for the NJCAA Division II runner-up squad in 2014 and 12 more (with no losses) in 2015, earning national pitcher of the year honors. His 21 wins at HCC tied Pat Rapp, the former Southern Miss and MLB standout, for the most in school history. Bell also pitched for two state championship teams at Centreville Academy. State, meanwhile, which opted not to throw ace Konnor Pilkington on Friday, used five pitchers all told. The Bulldogs now face an elimination game today at Taylor Park against Illinois-Chicago, the 4-seed that put a major scare in USM before falling 8-7.

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