Leadoff hitter Bradford grows up at the plate

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

ATLANTA – John Cohen has a tendency to shuffle his batting order, but one spot he no longer messes with is leadoff: That’s C.T. Bradford’s territory.
The freshman center fielder has established himself in that role as this season has gone on. He’s been especially good of late: 14 of 40 (.350 average) during a 10-game hitting streak that began May 13 at Ole Miss.
In Mississippi State’s 8-3 win over Austin Peay on Saturday, Bradford was 2 of 5 with an RBI triple and two runs scored. He’s 4 of 8 in two games here, and that triple sparked a seven-run fourth inning.
“C.T., he’s not a freshman any more, he’s a sophomore,” Cohen said. “He’s a guy who’s played with tremendous poise all year long, and he’s done it in a little bit of pain. He’s been battling through some injuries, and his focus has never left.”
For the season, Bradford is hitting .303 – third on the team – with 36 runs scored.
“Recently I felt good at the plate, and I’m just doing whatever I can to help the team win,” he said.
Ogden breaks through
– In the first and third innings against Peay, MSU shortstop Jonathan Ogden stepped up with two outs and the bases loaded, and he failed both times to come through. Of the 10 men left on base Saturday, Ogden was responsible for six.
It was the same situation in the fourth, and Ogden finally got it done with an infield single to knock in a run and give State a 5-0 lead.
“I was hard on myself to let my team down, leaving six guys on base my first two at-bats,” Ogden said, “but I just stay focused, and I think Brent (Brownlee) got me that RBI single with the bases loaded by beating the throw to second base.”
No cowbell for you
– Cowbells are allowed in Davis Wade Stadium, but not at Georgia Tech’s Russ Chandler Stadium.
An MSU fan had his cowbell confiscated during the first inning, and he was ejected after he “mouthed off” at the police officer trying to collect it, according to State athletics director Scott Stricklin.
Artificial noisemakers are not allowed at NCAA-sanctioned postseason events. So that fan will have to wait until September, when he can bring his cowbell into Davis Wade and ring away.
On Friday, the SEC’s presidents voted to extend by a year the league policy that allows MSU fans to ring cowbells during SEC home games at appointed times.
Painful mark
– Senior third baseman Jarrod Parks was hit by a pitch in the first inning, the 20th time this season he’s taken one for the team.
That established a single-season school record, previously held by Travis Chapman in 2000.
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or brad.locke@journalinc.com.

Click video to hear audio