February 17, 2012 12:05:00 PM
STARKVILLE -- Similarly to MSU football and basketball, we will provide you this form of a pre-game blog complete with a short recap of what happened the day before and a detailed scouting report on the pitching matchup and a projected lineup before every game to document the journey that is the Bulldogs season.
Also feel free to follow me for live game updates on Twitter through @matthewcstevens
WHAT HAPPENED IN 2011: Mississippi State returned to postseason competition in 2011, sweeping through the NCAA Atlanta Regional and advancing to the championship game of the Gainesville Super Regional en route to a 38-25 finish and a No. 15 national ranking. Sixteen lettermen and 14 of the 16 Bulldogs who pitched last season return for State.
TODAY'S STARTING PITCHERS AND PROJECTED STARTERS:
PITCHER: Ben Bracewell - RHP - Bracewell's comeback from labrum surgery will be
completed with the redshirt sophomore getting the opening day pitching
start Friday night.
Mississippi State's right-handed pitcher will be the first to take the mound in the 2012 season. The plan, according to a Friday night conversation with MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson, is for two MSU starting pitchers to be paired together in a game for the first weekend since they'll be on an individual pitch count of about 70-80 pitches. The concern for the MSU coaching staff is the soreness that Bracewell still feels in his arm one or two days after a start or long bullpen
PROJECTED STARTERS (2011 statistics):
C - Mitch Slaughter, Jr., RH - First-team all-conference and all-region catcher at Barton (Kans.) Community College;.353, 50 RBI, 5 home runs.
1B - Trey Porter, Sr., LH - Second-team NJCAA All-American selection at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College; .430, 9 home runs, 28 RBI, 9 doubles.
2B - Adam Frazier, Soph., LH - Hit .274 with 14 RBI in 95 at-bats; 2011 Freshman All-SEC team.
SS - Matthew Britton, Fr., LH - .452, 75 runs scord, fifth-most all-time in state of Alabama with a school record-setting 86 hits, including 22 doubles and seven home runs and 45 RBI in 56 games for Cullman (Ala.) High School.
3B - Daryl Norris, Soph., RH - .277, 5 doubles and a triple with 20 RBI. Claimed the SEC Freshman of the Week honors twice in 2011.
LF - Brent Brownlee, R-Sr., RH - .Hit .279, 24 RBI and 18 runs scored in 44 games played. Played error-free defense to pace MSU's outfielding corps (no errors in 84 chances). named to the NCAA Atlanta Regional All-Tournament team. Closed the year 5-for-11, three-RBI NCAA Super Regional series at Florida.
CF - C.T. Bradford, Soph., LH - .303, 74 hits and "free bases" (28 walks and 12 HBPs) with 11 stolen bases in 18 attempts and fielded at a .978 clip with but three errors in 135 fielding chances. Earned NCAA Atlanta Regional MVP honors. Named to the Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team and the 2011 SEC All-Freshman team.
RF - Hunter Renfroe, Soph., RH - .154 with two RBI in 26 at-bats. Earned summer league All-American and CRCBL all-league status following a stellar season of summer baseball with the Bethesda (Md.) Big Train of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League · Hit .305 and hit a club-record and league-best eight home runs and earned a save in his lone pitching performance in helping lead Bethesda to its third straight CRCBL title.
DH - Wes Rea, Soph., RH - Sat out the season as a freshman redshirt to rehabilitate an injured shoulder
WASHINGTON STATE STARTING PITCHER: J.D. Leckenby - RHP - The state of Idaho player of the year appeared in 18 games out of the bullpen last year with a team-best 2.28 ERA among relievers.. He yielded just 17 hits in 27 2/3 innings and logged nine-straight shutout innings over four outings between April 3-12. He did not lose a game pitching over his last two seasons at Buhl (ID) High School.
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.