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The Lunch Counter - Bringing MSU news during your lunch break


While you enjoy your lunch break - sit down and digest some MSU news right here at The Lunch Counter


Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE - Get ready for the second new item to The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog.  


Now that you've been introduced to the wake-up call, we're equally excited to bring you, the loyal reader, a blog post that you'll be able to hit during your lunch hour. This post will give you what happened the day before in Mississippi State University sports news throughout the mid-morning and give you a taste as to what's in today's edition of The Dispatch. As I announced on the Full Court Press radio show, one more items will be introduced tonight as a final consistent element to The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog. We hope you'll enjoy.  




Without further ado:  




Item No. 1 - Mississippi State baseball news -  




In preparation for its weekend series at Auburn University, MSU is going to go with the same weekend pitching rotation that has been relatively solid throughout the first two weeks of Southeastern Conference play.  


Friday: Junior RHP Chris Stratton (5-0, 2.21) 


Saturday: Senior LHP Nick Routt (1-3, 4.01) 


Sunday: Junior RHP Kendall Graveman (2-0, 2.45) 


The only change is regarding junior right-hander Ben Bracewell, who as we reported in The Wake-Up Call blog post will be available out of the bullpen, and it looks as if he'll be paired with Routt in the Saturday game to provide a 1-3 inning bridge in order to get to MSU senior closer Caleb Reed.  


"We feel like Brcewell might be in the mix," MSU coach John Cohen said. "The first 4 innings of Routt's outing (against Arkansas last weekend) his changeup really showed up and he made some really good hitter look bad with his changeup. He now has a swing-and-miss pitch. Bracewell certainly has an opportunity to be that second guy (out of the pen). 




Item No. 2 - Mississippi State tennis news -  




In today's edition of The Dispatch - please go pick up a copy (it makes my bosses happy) - we have a feature on MSU's number-one men's tennis player Artem Ilyushin. If you've been to the A.J. Pitts Tennis Center, you've seen him as the player doing the fist pumps, yelling at the crowd to pump himself up and doing a lot of what may seem like crazy antics.  


In what is turning out to be his best season individually and for the team, Ilyushin sat down with me to describe what the emotion is all about, how it helps him on the court and is encouraged by Bulldogs head coach Per Nilsson.  


"Could I not do it, sure - of course but what's the fun in that?," Ilyushin said. "When I see 200-300 people every match cheering for me and my teammates then it gives you all the spirit in the world to jump over your head." 


Ilyushin has won nine out of his last ten matches, defeating eight ranked opponents en route, six of which coming against players ranked in the top 40 in the nation. Ilyushin's most notable win on the season came against third-ranked Will Spencer of the University of Georgia in a tight 4-3 loss in Athens, Ga.  




Item No. 3 - Mississippi State men's basketball recruiting news -  




Our friend Paul Jones of 247sports.com reported today that Kemper County forward Devonta Pollard has eliminated Mississippi State from the list of schools he's considering signing a scholarship with. Pollard has reportedly narrowed it down to Alabama, Georgetown, Texas and Missouri. Before announcing his retirement, MSU coach Rick Stansbury, along with assistant coach Phil Cunningham, went to Mississippi Coliseum to watch Pollard and his teammates win the Class 3A state championship in Jackson. Pollard averaged 23.8 points, 15.7 rebounds and 5.1 blocks per game while notching a triple-double in the state championship game win over Booneville High that the MSU and Alabama coaching staffs watched in person. Pollard was selected to play in the McDonald's All-American game which took place last night. 




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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