BASEBALL: Mississippi State: (21-24, 6-15 SEC)

– Looking back: After splitting a pair of midweek games against Middle Tennessee, MSU dropped all three games at Vanderbilt. It was the second time this season the Bulldogs have been swept, Georgia being the other.
State is now 2-10 in SEC road games. Even the usually reliable Nick Routt wasn’t immune. The freshman lefty was touched for nine runs – five earned – in seven innings of Saturday’s 10-4 loss. Seven of those runs were scored in the first two innings.
That was the theme of the weekend: Vandy scored 20 of its 29 runs on the series before the sixth out. Coach John Cohen blamed it on his pitchers’ inability to keep the ball down.
MSU’s ERA was 8.79 last week. On the upside, the bullpen was strong for once, posting a 4.50 ERA in 14 innings of work in Nashville.
– Looking ahead: With its midweek schedule complete, save a May 12 date with Memphis, MSU can get valuable practice time as it readies for the final three weekends of the season.
– In the SEC: The Bulldogs are currently three games behind South Carolina for the eighth and final SEC Tournament seed.
Two of State’s last three series are at home, including this week against Alabama (29-15, 12-9), which is sitting in fourth place in the Western Division. The Crimson Tide leads the SEC in batting with a .335 average, 23 points ahead of the next closest team.
Bama won two of three against Kentucky over the weekend.
– MVP: Sophomore right fielder Ryan Collins is getting playing time and finding his stroke after last year’s shoulder surgery slowed him for a while. He hit .458 (11-for-24) with three doubles and a home run last week. For the year, he’s batting .262.

Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

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