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Junior LHP Luis Pollorena to start for Mississippi State Saturday vs. Kentucky in SEC Baseball Tournament semifinal


Mississippi State junior left-hander Luis Pollorena will get the start today as the Bulldogs face Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament semifinal round

Mississippi State junior left-hander Luis Pollorena will get the start today as the Bulldogs face Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament semifinal round



Matt Stevens


HOOVER, Ala. - In the post-game media conference after his team's dramatic 4-3 victory over Louisiana State University Friday, Mississippi State University baseball coach John Cohen said he was immediately approached by three pitchers on his roster to 'give me the baseball coach, I want to pitch (Saturday)'.  


It appears one of those players was junior left-hander Luis Pollorena because the Laredo, Texas native will be making his fourth start of the 2012 season when MSU (37-22) faces the University of Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament semifinal round today (noon, CSS).  


"That's the neat thing about our pitching staff and the game is over so three kids come up to me and say 'I want the baseball tomorrow, coach please let me have the baseball tomorrow because I want to start the game," Cohen said. "In this time of the year, that doesn't happen a lot. That's all about the kids and how they want to compete."  


Immediately after he said those words, The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog begged the question of the names of those three individuals to which Cohen went into his classic gamesmanship line hours before another game.  


"Yeah....I'm not going to do that," Cohen said. "I'm not going to do that to myself." 


Pollorena (4-0, 1.69) was last on the mound Thursday at Regions Park, going two innings while giving up one run on two hits in the Bulldogs' 5-1 loss to the Wildcats. He threw 22 pitches but had been seen getting warm in the MSU bullpen in Tuesday's 9-1 against the University of Arkansas and then the next day in a 3-2 win against LSU so it'll be interesting to see how much stamina the 5-foot-7 southpaw has Saturday afternoon.  


MSU's game-tying RBI in the ninth inning Friday came from Pollorena, who was 0-for-3 at the plate this season, as the junior managed to get a fly ball deep enough to right-centerfield off LSU closer Nick Goody to send the game to extra innings. 


"At some point in time you have to say who's going to compete," said Cohen after being asked if Pollorena was always the option to hit in the ninth inning Friday against LSU. "And nobody competes harder than Pollorena." 


The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog found out later, in what is clearly not so breaking news, that another pitcher that walked up to Cohen wanting the baseball in the semifinal game against Kentucky is senior right-hander Caleb Reed. After tossing 3 1/3 inning scoreless innings, the pre-season All-America candidate has told MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson that he'll be ready to pitch again less than 24 hours later.  


"I've already told two coaches after the game that you let me get home, do some running at the hotel, get some cardio in and flush some stuff out and I can throw an inning or two (Saturday) no doubt," Reed said. 


For the fifth time in nine days, MSU will match up with No. 11 Kentucky in the semifinals of the tournament. In another quirk of the 10-team format, the Wildcats are undefeated in Hoover this week but a loss Saturday to the Bulldogs will eliminate them in what is now single elimination.  


Kentucky will start left-handed pitcher Corey Littrell (8-1, 2.64) with his only loss being Saturday at Dudy Noble Field in the regular season finale. 




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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