February 27, 2010 11:11:00 PM
David Miller -
STARKVILLE -- John Cohen believes the Mississippi State baseball team is trying too hard to make good things happen.
The MSU coach bemoaned five errors and accepted the team''s reality of playing so many newcomers following an 8-5 loss to Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday.
It was the Bulldogs'' second-straight loss in the series.
It''s the first time this season for MSU to drop a series as the team is 4-2 going into the series finale at 1:30 p.m. today at Dudy Noble Field.
Mississippi State''s loss, which saw freshman starter Chris Stratton last just 2 2/3 innings and give up two earned runs on five hits for the loss, left Cohen feeling like his players were giving full effort but without the intensity he''d like.
"We''re just tentative, unaggressive, any way you want to say it," Cohen said. "Our preparation was really good this morning. We had great film work, did a lot of drill work inside and came outside and got a lot of stuff done.
"Our kids are just really trying exceptionally hard right now instead of just letting the game come to them. That''s probably my responsibility."
With Stratton getting chased early and the middle infield committing four of the errors, Mississippi State faced an upfield battle after falling behind 5-3 in the third inning.
Southeaastern Louisiana went ahead 5-3 on Cody Gougler''s RBI single and Chad Livingston''s RBI double that got past a diving Brent Brownlee in center.
Mississippi State went scoreless the next six innings before a rally attempt fell short with a two-run ninth inning.
The lack of energy prompted Cohen to deliver a spirited speech to his players in the sixth inning.
"We just got tentative," Cohen said. "We had a one-hopper hit to our leftfielder (Luke Adkins) and he doesn''t even attempt to throw the ball tot he plate, and that''s disappointing. Luke''s better than that. We attack the game. We''re not going to have that anymore in this program. We''re going to be in attack mode. We''re not going to give in."
To his credit, Adkins produced at the plate by 3 for 4 with two RBIs. He had a two-run single in the second inning for a short-lived 3-2 lead.
Jonathan Ogden, Jet Butler and Cody Freeman each had two hits, but Mississippi State''s fifth game with 10 or more hits was overshadowed by the blunders in the field, Adkins said.
"We made a lot of errors defensively today that just killed us," Adkins said. "It''s either been at the beginning of the game, we haven''t done well or didn''t come through at the end. That''s something we''ve really got to work on is putting together a full nine innings."
Southeastern Louisiana (6-0) got a stellar performance on the mound from Brandon Efferson, who pitched six innings and gave up three earned runs on nine hits for the win. He struck out seven.
The Lions got multi-RBI games from Brock Hebert, Gougler and Livingston.
With limited film to scout Stratton, Southeastern Louisiana coach Jay Artigues said his team didn''t try to change anything.
"We just tried to stay with out strengths and our plan and not do too much," Artigues said. "We just had to be consistent all game long. Our guys did a lot better job today offensively of putting pressure on them. We did a better job at the plate and on the bases. We were able to take advantage of a couple of miscues."
MSU''s top power hitter, Connor Powers, went 0 for 5 and combined with Vickerson to go give the Bulldogs'' No. 2 and No. 3 hitters an 0 for 8 day with just two walks.
Chad Girodo, who filled in nicely in the Bulldogs'' mid-week win against UAB, followed that performance with 5 1/3 innings Saturday. He gave up one earned run on five hits and struck out three.
Brownlee left the game with a shoulder injury after diving for the fly ball. He was replaced by Jaron Shepherd, who could start again today as Brownlee will be re-evaluated.