January 26, 2013 5:45:54 PM
STARKVILLE - The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog was LOOKING LIVE.....at Dudy Noble Field for the first time this spring as the Mississippi State University baseball program conducted the second of three preseason scrimmages this weekend Saturday.
Here's a bulleted list of highlights for the No. 5 Bulldogs in a intra-squad scrimmage today:
Wes Rea, who is physically down to under the 272 pounds he is currently listed at on the official roster, has a pair of hits today at the plate but more importantly is looking confident and healthy at the plate and in the field at first base. Rea had an impressive over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory and defensively his body change has only improved his flexibility and feet control at first base. Rea has been named a co-captain of the team as a third-year sophomore and is already started to show early in the spring what he brought to fall baseball workouts that is based on the muscle cyst on his right shoulder being a memory of a frustrating 2012 season.
At times last year you could see Rea try and flex his right hand and arm in the batter's box because he couldn't feel the bat in his right arm. That injury has been taken care of with surgery and his newfound confidence is apparent immediately for a team that needs power bats to supplant the middle of the order in 2013.
On the maroon team, MSU had junior shortstop Adam Frazier and sophomore center fielder C.T. Bradford in the 1-2 spots of its split-squad lineup Saturday with both of them getting on base in the scrimmage. Frazier scored a run on a two-out, RBI single through the hole at second base. Bradford, who is coming off surgery to correct his shoulder injury suffered twice during the 2012 season, looked more physical and stronger than his listed 170 pounds would suggest and showed no signs Saturday of not being 100 percent healthy after being scratched from the final month of the season last year.
Two players at third base were impressive on hard-hit ground balls were redshirt freshmen Nick Flair and junior college transfer Brett Pirtle. Flair ranged to his left on a ball off the bat to get the out at first base. After suffering an early shoulder injury at this point last year, Flair (a former 36th round draft pick out of high school by the Pittsburgh Pirates) was redshirted to avoid losing a year of eligibility but could be a key bat to the 2013 campaign this season. Pirtle, who is supposed to battle with Canadian freshman and former Oklahoma State commitment Kyle Hann for the second base spot was able to start a 6-4-3 double play action in the scrimmage and was impressive at the hot corner. Pirtle played three innings at third and three innings at second today while batting second in the order of his split-squad to set the table for Rea today.
On the mound Chad Girodo pitched himself in and out of trouble today in a very experienced way as the southpaw continued to pick runners off first base and get key ground ball outs in his three innings of work that included one first-inning run. The impressive surprise on the mound Saturday was freshman John Marc Shelly that did an excellent job showcasing his movement on the fastball and getting ground ball outs on his breaking ball pitches. Shelly, who was a Rawlings All-American out of high school in Germantown, Tenn., was hitting 91 miles-per-hour on the radar gun last year and may have put the injury history in high school behind him.
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.
5. A Stone's Throw: Beware COLUMNS