Last week I wrote about MSU’s offensive numbers, many of which are not pretty. Like the Bulldogs’ team batting average, which is currently .249. According to the latest NCAA statistics (CLICK HERE), that ranks 270th out of 291 teams nationally.
Of course, as coach John Cohen pointed out, hits aren’t everything. And MSU has done pretty well in some other notable offensive categories. It ranks 10th in hit-by-pitches, 48th in walks and 62nd in sac bunts.
The batting average does need to improve, and Cohen has acknowledged that. But college baseball these days isn’t about offense. It’s about pitching and defense, and those were the needs – especially pitching – addressed heavily by Cohen in recruiting when he arrived. Naturally, signing all those pitchers – some of whom also play in the field – was going to cost MSU offensively once last year’s seniors left.
And oh how the pitching has improved. The Bulldogs’ 2.71 ERA ranks fourth in the country and first in the SEC. Remember 2009, Cohen’s first year? MSU had a team ERA of 6.59, which ranked 210th, and was 237th in walks allowed per nine innings (4.75). The pitching numbers are so strong across the board this season for MSU:
• 10th in strikeouts per nine innings (8.4)
• 20th in hits allowed per nine innings (7.96)
• 28th in walks allowed per nine innings (2.81)
• 11th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.99)
• 20th in WHIP (1.2)
Individually speaking, shortstop Adam Frazier ranks 19th in walks, and Chris Stratton ranks highly in several categories: 65th in ERA (2.22), seventh in victories (nine), 18th in strikeouts per nine innings (10.78), fifth in total strikeouts (107), 30th in strikeouts-to-walk ratio (5.63) and 26th in WHIP (0.96).