MSU baseball coach John Cohen didn't have a good explanation for what happend to his team's offense at Tennessee. The Bulldogs (19-17, 5-10 SEC) hit .175 and scored just three runs in the first two games, both won by Tennessee and its SEC-worst pitching staff, before collecting 11 hits in a 10-9 win Sunday.
"I think what happened to our hitting is a combination of things," Cohen said. "When we found barrel and hit the ball hard, it went right at somebody. And their (pitchers) did a fine job.
"Grant Hogue hit about three balls just on the screws and got out. It creates momentum for the other side, and I think they pitched it pretty well."
That's baseball, I guess. A little more dependable was MSU's pitching. Tyler Whitney wasn't lights out Friday, but he was solid, allowing five runs in 7.2 innings of a 6-1 loss. And that phenomenal freshman, Nick Routt, threw another complete game in Saturday's 4-2 setback. In his five SEC starts – four of which he's finished – Routt has an ERA of 3.93 with 41 strikeouts in 36.2 innings.
"Whitney goes out there and really competes hard, pitched well for us Friday night," Cohen said. "We kept asking him as the game went on, ‘How do you feel?’ and, ‘You want to go out there?’ and he really wanted to go out there late in the game and compete.
"Routt went out there and did what he’s done seven or eight times in a row; he’s been phenomenal. They both gave us a chance to win."
Up next is the Governor's Cup tomorrow night in Pearl (6:30). Ole Miss (25-10) comes in ranked No. 17 by Baseball America. Junior righty Ricky Bowen (2-1, 5.40) is the likely starter for State. Ole Miss will counter with senior lefty Brett Bukvich (4-1, 3.86). In a 10-0 win against UAB last week, his first outing in three weeks, Bowen gave up no runs on three hits in six innings.
"He didn’t throw as many strikes as we wanted him to, but a very solid effort, and I think he’s starting to make the turn," Cohen said.