Baseball Notes: Bulldogs Ready to Hit Road, Minus Stark

Mississippi State’s baseball team will leave for South Louisiana tomorrow for its first road trip of the season. After two games at Southeastern Louisiana, the No. 21-ranked Bulldogs (14-3) face No. 13 LSU (13-3) this weekend to open SEC play.

They’ll be doing so short-handed, as yet another player is out injured. Outfielder and pitcher Taylor Stark suffered a hamstring injury Sunday and will not play this week, coach John Cohen said this afternoon. He’s not sure how long Stark will be out, noting it’s the same hamstring that gave the sophomore problems in high school.

“Our kids are playing hard, and that was just pushing himself a little bit too much. That’s the first injury that we have had that’s normal,” Cohen said.

Stark is batting .278 and has six starts in left field. On the mound, he’s 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two appearances.

That makes three outfielders out with an injury. As we already know, Brent Brownlee (knee surgery) and C.T. Bradford (separated shoulder) are out. Bradford will travel with the team, however, and could play this weekend.

“Even if he can just catch a fly ball for us, I think he’s valuable enough to take with us,” Cohen said.

Then there is Friday night starter Ben Bracewell, who sat out last weekend with elbow soreness. He’ll also travel with the Bulldogs, and Cohen hopes he’s ready to go by Friday for the opener against LSU.

“He’ll throw a light bullpen tomorrow or Wednesday, then we’ll know more after that.”

• Here’s what Cohen had to say about outfielder Demarcus Henderson, who was named the SEC freshman of the week: “Demarcus is a really talented athlete. We’re very hopeful that he’s going continue to get better and better in the outfield, because that’s an area where we need some help. We’ve already lost three outfielders, so we really need him to step up, and he has.”

• Here’s what he had to say about SE Louisiana: “Their pitching numbers are outstanding. They really create offense in their own ballpark. They’re a very good baseball team. It’s a tough midweek opponent to play. You’re going to get good RPI out of it, because they’re a team that’s going to win a lot of games. But at the same time, you’re going into league play as well, and you have to protect your pitching a little bit.”

• The starting pitching for SELA hasn’t been set yet, but Cohen said good possibilities were redshirt freshman Tanner Gaines (1-0, 1.35) for Tuesday and true freshman Will Cox (1-0, 4.15) for Wednesday.

I’ll have more from Cohen in tomorrow’s paper.