June 14, 2013 11:46:50 AM
OMAHA, Neb. - The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog has arrived at the College World Series and we'll provide day-long coverage of Friday's media conferences and practices here at TD Ameritrade Ballpark in Omaha, Neb.
So not-so-surprising news to report is Mississippi State University coach John Cohen announced Friday morning that senior right handed pitcher Kendall Graveman (7-5, 3.14) will get the start against No. 3 overall seed Oregon State Saturday afternoon. Graveman has gotten the first pitching start of both the Starkville Regional and Charlottesville Super Regional so it's no surprise that he is getting the first start of the CWS.
Graveman will likely be paired against one of Oregon State's All-American selections of senior left handed pitcher Matt Boyd or Pacific 12 Conference freshman of the year Andrew Moore.
"The Beavers actually matchup pretty well with the rest of the CWS field," Perfect Game college baseball managing editor Kendall Rogers said. "OSU has an outstanding weekend rotation, the best in the field of eight."
Saturday's start (2 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2) will be Graveman's 46th career start, which will tie him for ninth all-time with Don Mundie (1979-81) in school history.
In his last start in Charlottesville against the University of Virginia, Graveman battled his way through 5 1/3 innings in a 118-pitch outing for the victory. Without being able to locate and command his fastball correctly, Graveman went to his rarely used slider and curveball for results against the best offensive club in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"When I got two strikes on them, it was really hard to put them away," Graveman said after the win. "If you know me, going to my secondary stuff isn't what I'm about. Today just happened to be the one time I was locating it well."
Graveman allowed just four earned runs over nine hits and walked two batters but didn't allow Saturday to be another throw away outing for a MSU starting pitcher.
Graveman has tossed 299 2/3 innings in his four-year career with MSU, which ranks eighth all-time in school history behind notable MLB pitchers such as Jeff Brantley and Paul Maholm.
Oregon State closer questionable for CWS with back spasms
Oregon State has a major bullpen problem as freshman closer Max Engelbrekt could miss at least the first couple of games in the College World Series with severe back spasm suffered in game two of the Corvallis Super Regional win against Kansas State University.
"He had a spasm in his back somehow," Oregon State Pat Casey said after the game two win Sunday. "We don't know what his condition is, obviously he was unable to pitch. It was an unfortunate situation."
Engelbrekt, a freshman from Seattle, has become the closer of choice lately even though junior righty Scott Schultz leads the team with 10 saves. Engelbrekt picked up his fifth win of the season against the University of Texas at San Antonio in the first game of regional play following 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. He also saved his fifth game of the season last week in the regional after one scoreless inning of relief pitching against the University of California at Santa Barbara.
In the Monday Super Regional final, Oregon State (50-11) was forced to turn to Saturday starter Matt Boyd, who had thrown 123 pitches two days ago, for a four-out save.
"We knew (closer) Max (Engelbrekt) couldn't pitch, and Matty made it very clear to me yesterday that he was ready," Casey said. "We knew if it was a one-run game we'd go to Matt, keep him on a low pitch count. He wanted to pitch, and we let him.
Oregon State's top three starters (Moore, Boyd and Ben Wetzler) have combined to go 33-5, and have pitched six innings or more in 35 of their 47 starts. Moore, a freshman right-hander, has won nine straight, and his 14 wins are tied for most in the nation.
Follow our Dispatch coverage of the College World Series throughout the week
Here's some of the week-long coverage of MSU's trip to the College World Series in the print edition of The Dispatch:
DISPATCH WEDNESDAY: CWS feature - What happened to allow MSU coach John Cohen to let this 2013 MSU team have more fun - http://cdispatch.com/sports/article.asp?aid=24869
CWS Notebook - Brutal SEC schedule prepared MSU for college baseball postseason - http://cdispatch.com/sports/article.asp?aid=24868
DISPATCH THURSDAY: CWS feature - Bulldogs players say road to Omaha full of roadblocks was worth it - http://cdispatch.com/sports/article.asp?aid=24901#ixzz2WD3cMQqm
CWS feature - My boss, managing editor Slim Smith, wrote a feature on Wes Rea and Jonathan Holder going from rivals to long-haired teammates - http://cdispatch.com/sports/article.asp?aid=24900#ixzz2WD41OBaq
CWS feature - My colleague, Scott Walters, wrote a feature on how John Cohen turned around the MSU program into his first trip to Omaha - http://cdispatch.com/sports/article.asp?aid=24902
CWS Notebook - Three Bulldogs earn All-America honors - http://cdispatch.com/sports/article.asp?aid=24899
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.