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Cohen still not thrilled with effort in Gov Cup loss; injuries still mounting in Bulldogs clubhouse


John Cohen discusses his displeasure with his club and injury issues in Wednesday's media teleconference

John Cohen discusses his displeasure with his club and injury issues in Wednesday's media teleconference Photo by: MSU athletics


Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE - It doesn't appear like the long talk in left field Tuesday night that John Cohen had with every member of the Mississippi State University baseball club had any affect in helping him move past a lackluster effort.  


In the recap for Wednesday's edition of The Dispatch I stressed the effort level being low and for the first time in three years under Cohen a player - catcher Mitch Slauter - referenced the fact the Bulldogs quit while facing an early deficit. This is an issue Cohen noticed in the dugout, addressed with his team immediately and continued to stress in his weekly media teleconference Wednesday morning.  


"We're pretty disappointed about the way we played, especially offensively yesterday," Cohen said. "It's going to take a lot of mental toughness to move this thing forward." 


Against its hated instate rival, MSU (21-16) allowed a combination of four University of Mississippi pitchers to strike out 16 Bulldogs batters by getting them to consistently take swings out of the zone instead of being patient enough to wait for above average fastballs. The result was a 6-3 loss to the Rebels in Pearl Tuesday night in the annual Governors Cup matchup. 


"I thought offensively we didn't want to fight or compete with our at-bats tonight," Cohen said after the game. "That's really disappointing." 


Cohen isn't interested in excuses, injuries or anything else that could derail the 2012 season.  


"When you strike out 16 times, you're not going to win any ball games," Cohen said Tuesday night. "We got all the excuses in the world: kids are tired, bus trip, blah, blah, blah and there is no excuse. You got to focus and get it done. Our kids weren't locked in. When they lights came on here, we were not prepared to play." 




Okay....here is the injury list of the MSU baseball team that simply hasn't gotten any shorter as the 2012 season keeps going along.  




NOTE: Cohen hasn't discussed the injury situation with the trainers, doctors and players themselves so I can't stress this enough that information discussed here could be different once MSU opens its weekend series vs. the University of Tennessee Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.  




- Mississippi State senior outfielder Brent Brownlee has likely found himself in the defensive replacement role after battling a knee injury sustained in early March that involves ligament damage in the knee the Bulldogs veteran was trying to play with in his final season of college baseball. 


"I don't know if (Brent) Brownlee is gonna be able to start a game the rest of the year," Cohen said.  




- Sophomore opening night starter Ben Bracewell (elbow soreness) could be available for this weekend in a relief role but as we've reported previously it remains a day-to-day issue with the right-handed power arm. Bracewell hasn't seen much action since experience elbow soreness following three starts to start the 2012 season less than a year after going through Tommy John surgery. Apparently Bracewell could've pitched Tuesday night in Pearl against Ole Miss but he never warmed up in the MSU bullpen at Trustmark Park. 


Bracewell wasn't needed with the effort of left-handed reliever Luis Pollorena allowing just one run on three hits over 5 1/3 innings in a 57-pitch effort that lowered his earned run average to 2.08 this season. 


"He's pitched well in this venue before so yeah we had a confidence he would be fine," Cohen said Tuesday night. "It's such a short turnaround for us coming off a league weekend series that we had to stretch somebody out and he did that for us."  




- MSU sophomore Daryl Norris may have to be reevaluated in the future as to if he can play the infield.  


Norris, who is still recovering from a serious kneecap injury, couldn't make a play after fielding a ball down the third base line on a swinging bunt by Ole Miss centerfielder Auston Bousfield.  


Norris was able to field the ball with his non glove hand but had no play at any base when he quickly got to into a throwing position. Bousfield's infield hit, his only one of the evening, would give the Rebels their final lead of the game. The infield hit represented the second play Norris had an opportunity to make in a week that the Fairfield, Ala., native was unable to physically make due to his recent injury.  


"We got to make two plays defensively in that ball game to win it - a slow roller to Daryl and he can't move and the other is the one (MSU catcher Mitch Slauter) threw the ball into left field," Cohen said. "Those two defensive plays destroyed what we were trying to do."  


Norris was subbed out of Tuesday's loss in a double switch that put freshman Matthew Britton at second base and junior walk-on Sam Frost at third base. Norris had dislocated his kneecap after fouling a ball off his knee on March 7 against Penn State University. While he's been back in the lineup for the last two weeks, the sophomore made his return to defense in the field last weekend at the University of South Carolina.  


Cohen said after the game his status will be reviewed and could be put back in the designated hitter position in place of junior Trey Porter after the Gulf Coast Community College transfer went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts Tuesday.  


"Maybe Porter plays that position although he had a difficult night offensively too," Cohen said. "You feel like he and Porter have to be in the lineup so one of them has to be in the field. Is Daryl better there going half speed than a guy who had never played third base in his entire life until two weeks ago? That's the difficult one."  




- MSU sophomore shortstop Adam Frazier, who is second on the team with a .346 average, is battling knee soreness but will likely not be out of the lineup. The only thing to watch is there was two balls hit by Ole Miss Tuesday night straight up the middle that Frazier couldn't get to and he made his ninth error of the 2012 season on one of those plays. 




- MSU sophomore centerfielder C.T. Bradford (shoulder) was back in the leadoff spot as the 2011 Atlanta Regional most valuable player has been placed second, fourth and sixth since returning from a major shoulder injury in March.  




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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