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Pre-game at Dudy Noble Field: Game 2 vs. Washington State


Nick Routt will make his 2012 debut on the mound today against Washington State.

Nick Routt will make his 2012 debut on the mound today against Washington State. Photo by: AP file photo


Matt Stevens


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 YESTERDAY: Junior right-hander Chris Stratton was awarded the win after 4.0 innings pitched, four strikeouts and only one hit given up. The Bulldogs struck first with a three-run second thanks to a Taylor Stark RBI single and two sac fly RBI from redshirt freshman Wes Rea and freshman Matthew Britton. Washington State answered with two runs in the top of the fourth, only to have State respond with two of their own on single RBI from sophomores C.T. Bradford and Adam Frazier. 


A Daryl Norris RBI single in the eighth added one more run to the MSU cause to make the final score 6-2. 








PITCHER: Nick Routt - LHP, Sr. - It's amazing that Cohen specifically said the only question mark he had heading into the 2011 season was - you guessed it - Routt. Now the 6-foot-3 senior southpaw is in a position to grab the Friday night spot of the rotation.  


Took the hill for 13 starts, making his injury-delayed mound debut at Lipscomb (Mar. 16) Compiled a 3-3 record with a 3.86 earned run average with 49 strikeouts in 56.0 innings including his second career nine-inning complete game (fifth complete game overall and MSU staff-first in 2011) in State's NCAA Atlanta Regional-clinching 7-3 win over No. 9 Georgia Tech on June 5. Routt held the Yellow Jackets allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits with six strikeouts in the route of earning a berth on the NCAA Atlanta Regional All-Tournament Team. Appeared in three postseason games, posting a 1-1 record and a 3.94 earned run average over a staff-high 16.0 innings and compiled a 1.42 ERA with no decisions in five Dudy Noble Field appearances (19.0 innings). 


"The one thing he's worked so hard on and I'm so proud of him on is being more economic and getting those 5-6 pitch at-bats," Cohen said. "When he does that, he can get through some innings." 


While throwing what scouts would call a heavy 92-93 fastball, Routt has figured out with a three-fingered grip similar to a screwball to throw his changeup again without pain in his arm. If Routt can find the strike zone with the fastball and keep hitters off balance with a second pitch that changes speeds (whether it's a curveball or slider), then he could certainly challenge to beat some of the best arms in the Southeastern Conference this season. 




PROJECTED STARTERS (2011 statistics): 




C - Mitch Slauter, Jr., RH - 0-for-2 with a run scored and a RBI - First-team all-conference and all-region catcher at Barton (Kans.) Community College;.353, 50 RBI, 5 home runs. 




1B - Trey Porter, Sr., LH - 2-for-3 with a run scored - 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 - 2-for-5 with an RBI - Hit .274 with 14 RBI in 95 at-bats; 2011 Freshman All-SEC team. 




SS - Matthew Britton, Fr., LH - 1-for-3 with an RBI - .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 - 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI - .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 - 2-for-5 with a run scored - .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 - 1-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI - .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 - 0-for-1 with a K - .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 - 0-for-2 with an RBI and a walk - Sat out the season as a freshman redshirt to rehabilitate an injured shoulder 








WASHINGTON STATE STARTING PITCHER: Kyle Swannack - RHP, Jr. - A 6-foot-5, 240-pound All-American pitcher at Bellevue Junior College in Idaho after going a perfect 9-0 on the mound with 1.53 ERA while recorded 66 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings. Swannack held opposing hitters to a .202 batting average.  


"I want to be that No. 1 guy," he said. "But my main goal is to get drafted and make it to the show." 


Scouts from a few teams have been following Swannack, but he wasn't selected in the MLB Draft this past summer. 




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.



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