Mississippi State's baseball team is coming off another fine weekend, having swept four games total from UConn and Lipscomb. With a 10-2 record, the Bulldogs moved into the Baseball America rankings this week, at No. 23.
So, what's coach John Cohen think of that?
"We really laugh about that as a staff," he said. "We kind of joke and say, is it better for us not to be ranked? This is not just coach speak, it really doesn't matter now. What matters is at the end of the year. I guess it's better to be ranked than not ranked."
I asked Cohen about a couple of players who are hitting it well. Center fielder C.T. Bradford was 4 of 6 with a home run and six RBIs in Sunday's 16-6 win over Lipscomb. For the season, the sophomore is batting .294 with a .357 on-base percentage, and he has a team-leading 13 RBIs.
"He's got plenty of bat speed, he's got a lot more strength than people think he has," Cohen said. "He's a very polished hitter when he doesn't try and do too much. Yesterday was a day where he really made a conscious decision that I'm not going to try and do too much. He just let the game happen yesterday, and I think he was rewarded for that."
Bradford is slated to start on the mound Tuesday versus Penn State. It'll be his second career start, the first one coming March 20, 2011, against Vanderbilt. He lasted one inning and gave up four runs.
"He's somebody that's had a lot of success in our intrasquad games," said Cohen. "He's a year older. He's got tremendous pitching ability. I think he can pitch, and certainly this would be a good time to find out with this many games jammed up as tightly as they're jammed up this week."
Third baseman Daryl Norris had an overall great week, batting .476 (10 of 21) with five RBIs and six runs scored in five games. He's batting .400 on the year, tied for the team lead with Trey Porter.
Cohen: "He's somebody who's got a really short, quick swing, and kind of forces you to make some decisions, the way you're going to pitch to him. If you miss in, there's a chance you could hit him, and if you leave it out over the plate, he can really drive the ball."
• Cohen isn't sure yet who will play center field in place of Bradford on Tuesday. Senior Brent Brownlee will get the start if he's healthy, but he's been battling a knee injury – he played just once this past weekend, against Lipscomb on Saturday, and departed after one at-bat.
Brownlee is normally the right fielder, so possibilities there include Demarcus Henderson, Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Woodruff.
• Sophomore RHP Ben Bracewell, the Friday starter, left his last start after three innings with soreness in his elbow. He was getting checked out today, and Cohen said Bracewell's status for this weekend could be determined by Wednesday.