June 1, 2012 8:35:11 AM
The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog will be live from Dick Howser Stadium today for the second game of Mississippi State baseball this weekend as MSU (39-22) take on Samford (38-22) at 11 a.m., on the campus of host Florida State University.
Feel free to follow me for live game updates on Twitter through @matthewcstevens
WHAT HAPPENED LAST GAME: Playing six games in six midday games, Mississippi State went on a 5-1 run in the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament last weekend in Hoover, Ala. MSU pitching delivered its sixth shutout performance of the campaign in a 3-0 championship-clinching win over Vanderbilt University Sunday to earn the league's automatic berth to the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
"A lot of times in life you can make a lot of progress, but a trophy is tangible," MSU coach John Cohen To be able for the kids to touch it and say we're the champions, even if it's just one week of work, is very beneficial to us."
TODAY'S STARTING PITCHERS AND PROJECTED STARTERS:
PITCHER: Chris Stratton (11-1, 2.21), RHP - Jr. - The 2012 Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year takes the mound for MSU in the hopes of delivering Mississippi State a victory in the opener of NCAA Regional play. After struggling down the stretch last season, this is Stratton's first ever start in NCAA play so it'll be interesting to see how he reacts to that type of pressure. However, the projected first-round pick by nearly every mock Major League Baseball draft service has been able to dominate as MSU's Friday night guy for the entire SEC season. Stratton (11-1, 2.21 ERA) registered his SEC-leading 11th win and in
an SEC Tournament championship-clinching 3-0 win over Vanderbilt a
career-first save in Mississippi State's 5-1 run through last week's league tournament at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. Stratton ranks fourth nationally with 11 wins, fifth with 123 strikeouts and leads the SEC with a 2.21 earned run average. The 6-foot-4 right-hander will use a four-seam fastball, curveball and changeup but what has really blossomed this season is his ability to spin a slider to both right and left-handed hitters.
PROJECTED STARTERS (2012 stats):
C - Mitch Slauter, Jr., RH - .225, 3 HR, 22 RBI and 34 runs scored (has caught 29
consecutive games and been behind the plate for 281 consecutive innings.)
1B - Wes Rea, RS-Fr., RH - .244, 5 HR, 38 RBI (team-leading) and 12 doubles (has started 57 of 58 games played at 1B this season)
2B - Sam Frost, Jr., LH - .221, 17 RBI, 14 walks, 7 stolen bases. OR
2B - Matthew Britton, Fr., LH - .154, 8 RBI, 16 walks, 3 stolen bases
SS - Adam Frazier, Soph., LH - .376 (team-leading), 26 RBI, 15 doubles, .484 OBP, 43 runs scored (team-leading).
3B - Daryl Norris, Soph., RH - .279, 25 RBI, .388 OBP. 8 extra-base hits, 17 runs scored.
LF - Demarcus Henderson, RS-Fr., RH - .258, 10 RBI, .336 OBP, 6 stolen bases, 3 doubles. OR
LF - Tyler Fullerton, Fr., RH - .215, 7 RBI, 12 runs scored, 9 walks.
CF - Hunter Renfroe, Soph., RH - .257, 4 HR, 24 RBI, .381 slugging %, 20 walks
RF - Brent Brownlee, Sr., RH - .217, 11 RBIs, 3 doubles, 12 runs scored
DH -Trey Porter, Jr., LH - .262, 5 HR (team-leading), 25 RBI, 17 walks, .388 OBP
SAMFORD STARTING PITCHER: Charles Basford (9-2, 3.95), RHP - Sr. - Basford is a big right handed pitcher that will be pitching in front of a home crowd as he was born and raised in Tallahassee, Fla. Basford was named Second Team All-Panhandle Conference at after his freshman year leading Pensacola Junior College in innings pitched, strikeouts and ERA as the team's top ace pitcher before arriving to Samford. Basford is a hard-throwing pitcher in the low 90 mile-per-hour range and has excellent command of multiple off-speed pitches. The problem Basford, who has never been drafted either out of high school or junior college, could run into today vs. Mississippi State is he does pitch to contact in a ballpark that doesn't promote such strategy but has put up a 16-6 record mostly in Samford's small ballpark since arriving on the Birmingham Ala., campus.
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