MSU’s baseball team is back on the field today for its first midweek game of the season. Memphis (3-4) visits for a 4 p.m. start.
The Bulldogs (6-1) will hand the ball to junior left-hander Luis Pollorena, who has made only one appearance this season. He’s expected to play a prominent role out of the bullpen on weekends, but right now Cohen is just wanting to get guys like Pollorena some early season work.
As you can read in today’s Journal (CLICK HERE), State’s pitching and some timely hitting have been key in winning some close games early on. One pitcher who bounced back nicely was junior lefty Nick Routt, who tossed 4 1/3 innings and allowed one run on six hits versus Kansas on Saturday.
“His velocity came back, his breaking ball was good,” Cohen said. “When we took him out, he wasn’t real happy about it. I don’t blame him. He wanted to finish that game up, and unfortunately we’re in a one-run game right there. We’ve got Evan Mitchell, who’s not too bad himself, for a right-on-right matchup right there, and Evan just absolutely dominated when he came into the game.”
Mitchell entered the game with men on second and third and one out, and he retired the next two hitters. The sophomore tossed 2 2/3 shutout innings in the 3-1 win.
Another strong showing was turned in by junior right-hander Chris Stratton. He threw six innings of relief against Kansas on Friday, picking up the win by allowing no runs and just one hit. He struck out eight and walked one, and State won 1-0. It’s looking more and more like Stratton will be a bullpen guy.
“He feels comfortable in that role, and we like him comfortable, because if he’s comfortable, he’s going to be successful, because there’s so much talent there,” said Cohen. “We’re very optimistic about him. He’s going to be as good as he wants to be. I see an assertiveness out of him early on that I’ve never seen out of him in his career.”
And one more pitcher for us to look at: Freshman Will Cox, who hails from Amory. The local kid started Sunday against Mississippi Valley State and tossed seven innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits.
“He didn’t walk a guy, he punched out eight, he just is a strike thrower,” Cohen said. “Not just a strike thrower, he can get to both sides with the fastball and a lot of movement. He really understands his delivery. I think he has the potential to be a great one.”