Mississippi State has a huge series coming up at Ole Miss starting Thursday, and it looks like the Bulldogs' pitching rotation is rounding into form just in time.
MSU (29-18, 11-13 SEC) is coming off a sweep of Tennessee and got solid showings from starters Luis Pollorena, Nick Routt and Chris Stratton, all of whom picked up victories. It was the first time during the SEC schedule that all three weekend starters went at least five innings.
Coach John Cohen said the rotation will remain the same for the trip to Oxford. He offered his thoughts on each of those guys during this morning's teleconference.
• On Pollorena (6-3, 2.61), who allowed five runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings: "He's so hard to run against, he's so hard to bunt against, and with the new bats, that's such a big part of the game. All those little pieces of the puzzle really add up for you on Friday night."
• On Routt (1-2, 3.66), who allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits in 6 innings and threw a season-high 124 pitches: "He's a guy that's throwing 85 percent fastballs. It's a good, good pitch for him, too. If that light switch of economy, throwing that fastball on both sides of the plate – he's so close – if he can do that, I think he can race through innings because he can really pitch off his fastball."
• On Stratton (5-5, 4.84), who allowed two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings: "When we were busing home we actually watched the replay of the game, and just watching his delivery from behind, it's even better than what I saw from the dugout. He just really finished pitches, and he had great confidence and body language."
I'll save most of the rest of what Cohen said for a notebook that will appear in Tuesday's Journal. I should note, however, that a few Bulldogs are banged up:
Shortstop Jonathan Ogden is still battling that pulled abdominal muscle. He sat out Saturday's game, and Cohen thought that helped him a lot. Also, outfielder Brent Brownlee twisted his knee chasing down a ball, and his status for this weekend is not known. More in tomorrow's paper.