By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
Mississippi State has some holes to plug in its pitching rotation. Sounds like a job for Luis Pollorena.
The senior left-hander will start tonight when the No. 25-ranked Bulldogs (22-6, 2-4 SEC) open a three-game series at No. 15 Arkansas (19-7, 4-2). First pitch is set for 6:30, while Saturday’s game will start at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s at 1 p.m.
Evan Mitchell, who failed to record an out at Kentucky last week, has been pulled from the rotation. And now Jacob Lindgren, the normal Friday night starter, is questionable this weekend because of elbow soreness.
Enter Pollorena, who has filled a variety of roles at MSU, from starting pitcher to reliever to closer to outfielder to pinch runner. This season, he’s 4-0 with a 2.77 ERA in nine appearances, including two starts.
“Whenever stuff started getting out of kilter, he’s always been that stopgap,” pitching coach Butch Thompson said. “Third year in a row, but we’re going to call on him one more time.”
Pollorena has 11 career starts, and in seven starts against SEC foes he has a 6.67 ERA, including a 0.90 mark last season.
“Coach (John) Cohen would say this game is about opportunity,” he said.
Kendall Graveman is set to start Saturday, while the Sunday starter has yet to be determined. Lindgren remains an option, but it could wind up being a group effort, which has often been the case.
The inability of MSU’s starters to go deep into games has meant a lot of work for the bullpen. The relievers have been stellar, but Thompson fears putting too much of a strain on them.
“I’m starting to get concerned, because (of) how long of a season this is,” he said.