Mississippi State, now ranked No. 22 in the country, is coming off a rough weekend at Vanderbilt, getting swept for the first time this season. But coach John Cohen, as he usually is, was philosophical about it all when I spoke with him earlier today.
The Bulldogs (33-13, 10-11 SEC) are now in fifth place in the Western Division with three series remaining: home versus Alabama, at Ole Miss, home versus South Carolina.
“Our kids know exactly what’s at stake in the next three weekends, and they also know that things just didn’t go our way (at Vanderbilt), and they know we can still accomplish a lot,” Cohen said. “Every one of our goals that we started out the year with are still in front of us, and they know that. This is a resilient bunch of kids. I know they will play well for the next three weekends.”
Cohen lamented some misfortune from the past weekend – those “that’s baseball” moments, like hard-hit balls that were caught. And there were self-inflicted wounds, like Sunday, when MSU had the bases loaded with one out in the fifth inning but couldn’t push anyone across.
“Vanderbilt’s a very good team; I don’t want to take anything away from them,” Cohen said. “They deserved to win all three games, but things had been going our way for three weeks, and I never felt like at any point in time anything was going our way this weekend.”
I asked Cohen if he would do anything different with the starting rotation this weekend, but he plans to stick with Luis Pollorena, Kendall Graveman and Jacob Lindgren. Lindgren failed to get out of the first inning Sunday, but that doesn’t discourage Cohen, because in his three previous outings – since returning from an elbow issue – Lindgren was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA.
“Jacob has been outstanding for us this year. The one hiccup on Sunday there doesn’t change our coaching staff’s feelings about Jacob.”
I’ll have more on the baseball team in Tuesday’s Journal.