MSU coach John Cohen has taken issue with the umpiring the past few days. Following Saturday's loss to Georgia, he bemoaned "things that we can't control," then was ejected from Sunday's game, and he saw no improvement in the offciating in Tuesday night's 5-3 Governor's Cup loss to No. 11 Ole Miss.
The last two MSU hitters of the game – Wes Thigpen and Nick Vickerson – were called out on strikes. Said Cohen: "In fact, I have no problem with the pitches they took for strike three. No problem whatsoever. None at all."
I then asked Cohen if he would watch video of the game, just like he said he would following Saturday's affair. "Yeah," he replied. "It's Groundhog's day. I have no problem with those guys taking those pitches, because that was a great job of the strike zone on their part, on the players' part."
However, Cohen did note that his hitters must do a better job on two-strike counts and with runners in scoring position.
"We've got to find guys who can handle a two-strike approach, which we're really searching for that. That's just a skill level that you've got to have, and obviously we're not displaying that right now."
Senior Connor Powers, who had a home run and a triple, said it's all on the players. "You can tell somebody to do something 100 times, and if you don't do it, it's just the players," he said.
Powers struck out twice. The second one was big: In the eighth inning, with two men on and nobody out, he was fanned by reliever Brett Huber.
"My last at-bat, when I struck out, that was not a good at-bat by me," Powers said. "I saw seven or eight of the same pitch in a row, I ended up striking out on the same pitch."
Besides Powers, MSU's hitters never could get a handle on Ole Miss starter David Goforth, who gave up two runs – on Powers' homer – and three hits in 5.3 innings. He had his slider and changeup both working pretty well.
"I really think my command with all three pitches, even the changeup, I was able to locate with that," Goforth said. "I left a few of them up, but for the most part, I was able to locate the changeup, and the slider was really good tonight."
It was the first collegiate start for Goforth, a sophomore right-hander.
"He was throwing a lot of strikes. Other than that, I can't really think of anything," Powers said when asked why Goforth was so effective. "He's got a good fastball."
One of Powers' big concerns was how MSU fared against the Ole Miss bullpen: one run, three hits in 3.1 innings.
"We need to have a lot better at-bats down the stretch against the bullpen. That's where we really lost this game."