May 27, 2013 10:19:51 PM
By MATTHEW STEVENS
STARKVILLE -- The one question surrounding the Mississippi State University baseball program is the health status of junior center fielder C.T. Bradford.
Bradford, missed the final three games of the Southeastern Conference tournament in Hoover, Ala., due to a severe quad injury. The former Mr. Baseball in the state of Florida out of high school had started the first 57 games of the season before being held out of the lineup during MSU's 5-3 victory over the University of South Carolina Wednesday.
MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson described Bradford's injury as a "hip flexor" Friday on the Head-to-Head show, the state-wide sports radio program.
Bradford, who is currently hitting .300 with five extra-base hits, suffered the injury after the final regular season series against South Carolina and played through the pain Tuesday night in the Bulldogs' 17-inning victory over the University of Missouri. Bradford finished Tuesday 0 for 6 with two sacrifice bunts.
Bradford has been receiving rehabilitation treatments since returning to campus following MSU's loss against No. 1 Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference tournament semifinal game Saturday. Cohen said Monday they'll monitor Bradford's lower body injury, which he said last week was similar to the injury Bulldogs first baseman Wes Rea suffered through in the first month of the season.
"If it means him not practicing as much this week to get him in the lineup, that's what we are going to do," Cohen said. "He's a really important piece to what we do."
In Bradford's absence, junior outfielder Hunter Renfroe moved to center field Wednesday and Thursday with Cohen using a combination of Demarcus Henderson, Derrick Armstrong and Jacob Robson.
"Before I arrived on campus, I had played center field my whole life when I wasn't pitching or catching," Renfroe said. "It's not a big deal to me but I really think C.T. will be back by Friday and just needed a couple days to rest and not further aggravate his injury."
n Frazier and Renfroe awarded to All-tournament team in Hoover : Adam Frazier and Hunter Renfroe were both named to the all-tournament team for the following Sunday's SEC tournament championship game at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
Frazier and Renfroe both sport .352 batting averages following play in the tournament and are considered top draft picks among college players at their position in next week's 2013 MLB draft.
"I thought it was very special to me because Frazier made it last year as the MVP," Renfroe said. "I'm glad to be on that team. I'm pretty excited about it."
At the beginning of the season, USA Baseball announced Frazier and Renfroe were named to the watch list for the 2013 Golden Spikes Award, the honor for the nation's top amateur baseball player.
Frazier, the MVP of the 2012 SEC Tournament, went 11-for-22 (.500) with a double and five runs scored in four games. Renfroe, the SEC leader with 15 home runs this season, collected six hits and drove in three runs. Frazier has hit safely in all 11 of his career SEC Tournament games over three seasons.
The NCAA announced Sunday night No. 14 MSU (43-17) was one of the 16 regional host sites. Frazier and Renfroe will lead an MSU squad against the University of Central Arkansas Friday at 7 p.m., at Dudy Noble Field.
"It's always been our goal since I got here to play in a regional at home and make that a regular thing here at MSU," Frazier said. "Everybody keeps telling me they're going to come and I'm sure they are."
The Bulldogs won their first three games in the tournament before dropping a Saturday game to top-ranked Vanderbilt. Louisiana State University registered a 5-4 win in 11 innings to capture this year's tournament title.
n Auburn makes change: At Auburn, Auburn fired baseball coach John Pawlowski on Monday hours after the Tigers missed the NCAA regionals for the third straight season.
"I want to thank coach Pawlowski for all he has done for Auburn baseball over the past five years," athletic director Jay Jacobs said in a statement.
"Coach Pawlowski worked extremely hard throughout his time here, and he has been a great representative for Auburn University. I have concluded it is time for our baseball program to move in a new direction. We have a rich baseball heritage and our goal is to compete for championships. I believe a change is necessary to help us achieve that goal."