MSU Starting Pitching Comes on Strong

Mississippi State’s rotation might not be Florida quality, but it’s a lot better than it used to be, which is why the Bulldogs have a decent chance to win this weekend’s Gainesville Super Regional.

Luis Pollorena, Evan Mitchell and Nick Routt all looked sharp last weekend in the NCAA Atlanta Regional, with Routt tossing a complete game. There have been good performances here and there throughout the season, but never three in a row against such high-quality competition.

“What Evan’s done his last two times out, what Routt has done, what Pollorena’s been able to do for us, obviously what Caleb (Reed)’s been able to do for us, I feel like our pitching is coming together,” coach John Cohen said. “I think there’s a certain level of confidence there, and it’s fun to see those kinds of things happen.”

In today’s Journal, I look at the starting pitching and how that newfound confidence runs through a group that’s been much maligned. There were changes to the rotation every few weeks during SEC play, and some tweaking is still going on.

But MSU might finally have found something it can stick with. If this keeps up, the bullpen – already a strength – should be even more effective. Bulldog relievers only had to work four innings in Atlanta.

“I feel like our pen guys are fresh and ready,” Cohen said.

Cohen hasn’t given official word yet, but either Mitchell or Routt will start Friday’s first game. Both pitchers have had success against the Gators this year. In Starkville on April 10, Routt tossed six innings of one-run ball in a 3-1 loss; in the SEC Tournament, Mitchell threw five-plus innings of two-run ball.

Either way, Cohen feels good about who he’ll put out there.

• I’m leaving shortly to make the long drive to Gainesville, with Matthew Stevens navigating. I’ll report in once we arrive.