– Looking back: MSU took care of its mid-week business, beating Eastern Illinois 9-4 and Lipscomb 14-4. Then reality checked in at No. 2 Vanderbilt, where the Bulldogs lost the first two games by counts of 10-0 and 4-0. MSU rallied on Sunday win 9-8.
– Looking ahead: After taking a few days off to rest and recalibrate, MSU takes on No. 22 Auburn in its first SEC home series of the season. Friday’s game starts at 6:30 p.m., with Saturday’s set to begin at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s at 1:30 p.m.
– Who’s hot: Senior third baseman Jarrod Parks is 7 for 14 (.500) over his last four games. In Sunday’s win, he chased Vandy starter Taylor Hill with a two-run home run in the fifth inning, then sparked a five-run eighth with a leadoff single. For the season, Parks is batting a team-best .412.
– Who’s not: Senior shortstop Jonathan Ogden has gone hitless his last four games, a stretch spanning 14 at-bats. Since his average peaked at .394 on March 4, Ogden has hit .180. His average for the season is .278.
– RPI watch: MSU checks in at 33rd in the country this week, according to boydsworld.com. Its strength of schedule ranks 50th, and a tough weekend is coming up against Auburn, which sits fifth in the RPI.
– Bottom line: Vandy has one of the best pitching staffs in the nation, and coach John Cohen thought his players got in some good swings. There were some pitching issues and a five-error game on Friday, but all in all, Cohen feels good about how his team played. Still, 1-2 is 1-2, and MSU needs to get those losses back this weekend.
Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal