Here we are, at the midway point of the SEC baseball season. So let us briefly take stock of where Mississippi State stands.
The 5-3 win at No. 25 Arkansas on Sunday puts the Bulldogs at 22-14 overall, 6-9 in SEC play. Those six wins equal last year's total, so being on pace to double that is progress already. MSU is fifth in the Western Division, and here's how it looks in the standings:
T1. Alabama, 8-7
T1. Arkansas, 8-7
T1. Ole Miss, 8-7
4. Auburn, 7-8
5. MSU, 6-9
6. LSU, 4-11
So, it's tight at the top, and the good news for State is that it's only two games out of first place. That won't be an easy gap to close right away, with defending national champion South Carolina coming to town this weekend.
What's marked these first 15 games for MSU is inconsistency, so far as the results are concerned – at the plate, on the mound and in the field. John Cohen's group is hitting .285 on the year, has a 3.98 ERA and .975 fielding percentage. A big problem much of the time has been clutch hitting with men in scoring position, and the weekend starters have been up and down as a whole.
MSU has been pretty consistent in the field, although the final game against Florida in the last home series sticks out as a notable exception. The relievers have been solid – especially junior Caleb Reed (0.88 ERA, six saves), who tossed 5.1 shutout innings yesterday to get the save.
Senior Jarrod Parks continues to pace the Bulldogs at the plate with a .395 average (tops in the SEC) and .517 on-base percentage. He missed Friday's game after being hit in the head by a pitch at UAB on Wednesday, but Parks was 5 of 9 on the weekend.
I'll have more on the Bulldogs later today when we speak with Cohen on a teleconference. He'll hopefully have an update on the length of outfielder Brent Brownlee's suspension.