June 21, 2013 11:31:22 AM
OMAHA, Neb. - Welcome to bracket championship day of competition at the College World Series. For the first time in school history , Mississippi State University will be attempting to reach the championship series in Omaha.
The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog is your stop for extensive coverage of MSU's appearance at the 2013 CWS. The Bulldogs (49-18) will try to win its first two games in the CWS for the first time since 1985 tonight (7 p.m., ESPN2) in its first ever matchup against Indiana University (49-14).
Also feel free to follow me for live game updates on Twitter through @matthewcstevens
MISSISSIPPI STATE STARTING PITCHER: Kendall Graveman (7-5, 3.17), Sr., LHP - Kendall Graveman (7-5, 3.14), Sr., RHP - Graveman has been arguably MSU's most consistent pitcher throughout the 2013 season.
Graveman has tossed 231 1/3 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. Graveman has two postseason victories after he earned the win in the NCAA Starkville Regional opener against the University of Central Arkansas on May 31 and the Charlottesville Super Regional.
Graveman allowed just two earned runs in 4 2/3 innings against Oregon State University on June 15 before he gave way to Chad Girodo and Jonathan Holder in the MSU bullpen during the Bulldogs 5-4 victory in the first game of the tournament.
PROJECTED STARTERS (2013 statistics):
C - Nick Ammirati, Sr., RH - .252, 23 RBI; Has thrown out 11 of 26 base runners while taking over the position from Mitch Slauter after his hand injury. Ammirati has seen his batting average dip 28 points since the Southeastern Conference tournament. MSU coach John Cohen expresses constantly he is MSU's best defensive catcher in terms of blocking and throwing.
1B - Wes Rea, RS-Soph., RH - .296, 7 home runs, 40 RBI, .992 fielding percentage; Second on the team in home runs and third in slugging percentage (.470). Had the game-winning RBI hit in Saturday's 5-4 victory over Oregon State University.
2B - Brett Pirtle, Jr., SH - .309, 2 home runs, 33 RBI; One of the more unique cleanup hitters in the country at 5-foot-9 and 176 pounds. Pirtle has gotten on base in 40 consecutive games and has scored 11 runs in the postseason. Here's a Dispatch feature in this week's print edition on Pirtle - http://cdispatch.com/sports/article.asp?aid=25056
SS - Adam Frazier, Jr., LH - .360, 20 doubles, 7 stolen bases. A preseason All-America team honoree that was drafted in the 6th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2013 MLB Draft next month. Frazier is second on the team in average and would've been the Charlottesville Super Regional most valuable player after going 8 for 11 including a 6-hit day in game one. Frazier set the school record for hits in a single season with his two-hit day Saturday against Oregon State.
DH/3B - Alex Detx, Jr.., LH - .317, 31 RBI, .457 on-base % - Has 19 multi-hit games and his currently hitting .378 in the postseason with a .458 on-base percentage. Had two hits in Saturday's victory over Oregon State.
RF - Demarcus Henderson, Jr., RH - .281, 22 runs scored, 21 RBIs. Really has heated up in the final two months of the season. Henderson is hitting .289 in the postseason with 6 RBIs.
LF - Hunter Renfroe, Jr., RH - .357, 15 home runs, 61 RBI, .644 slugging %. A preseason All-America selection who won the C Spire Ferris Trophy and was a first-team All Southeastern Conference selection. Renfroe was also a semi-finalist for both USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award and the NCBWA's Dick Howser Trophy, given to the nation's top collegiate player before being selected No. 13 overall by the San Diego Padres.
CF - C.T. Bradford, Jr., LH - .280, 1 home runs, 25 RBI, .361 on-base percentage. Since suffering a severe quad/hip injury in the Southeastern Conference tournament, Bradford's bat has gone cold as he's hitting just 4 for 30 (.133) in the postseason. However, his ability defensively in the large gapped outfield of TD Ameritrade Park is still valuable.
3B/UTIL - Sam Frost, Sr., LH - .293, 10 RBIs, 7 stolen bases - The Hoover, Ala., native is hitting a career best .295 in limited duty this season, 23 starts and 47 games played. He'll be the possibly ta dynamic left-handed bat in the MSU lineup today against a Oregon State bullpen or a defensive substitution late in the game if MSU has a lead.
INDIANA PROJECTED STARTING PITCHER: Andrew Moore (9-1, 2.13), Jr., RHP - Moore, the 2013 Pacific 12 Conference freshman of the year, has won nine straight and his 14 wins are tied for most in the nation. Moore was selected to the NCBA Freshman All-American team and was a semifinalist for the National Pitcher of the Year award. His last pitching victory was a eight-inning start against Kansas State in the Corvallis Super Regional where he allowed just six hits and three earned runs. Moore had 10 consecutive quality starts against schools in the third-best conference in the country according to RPI before facing Mississippi State Saturday (7.1 IP, 6 H, 4ER, 2 K, 2 BB).
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.