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MSU likely will go with Graveman in opener vs. Virginia

 

Matthew Stevens

 

STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State University coach John Cohen did everything but announce Kendall Graveman would be his starting pitcher for game one of the NCAA Charlottesville Super Regional. 

 

In his media conference Wednesday morning, Cohen said he and his coaching staff anticipate Graveman will start at noon Saturday (ESPN2) against No. 6 national seed University of Virginia, but he said the team won't finalize its rotation until the weekend because "we simply don't have to." 

 

"I think Kendall is just one of those guys that is a competitor, and you just want him on the mound because our kids believe in him so much," Cohen said. 

 

Graveman (6-5, 2.94 ERA) said he threw a bullpen session Tuesday, which would keep him in line to start Saturday, but he said hadn't been told officially he would start. 

 

"I would love the opportunity to get the baseball first because whoever gets that start has to take the responsibility of getting our team out on the right track," Graveman said. "As a senior with some experience in Super Regional play, I'd like to think I would be considered for that start." 

 

Graveman earned the victory against the University of Central Arkansas on Friday night in the NCAA Starkville Regional opener. He allowed four hits and two runs in 6 1/3 innings. 

 

"I'm not saying we have kids our players don't believe in because I think they believe in everybody on our pitching staff, but Kendall is a senior, he's a captain, he wants the baseball," Cohen said. "I think he got us off to a good start in the regional. These are all things we consider when we make these choices." 

 

 

 

Holder named finalist for national relief pitcher award 

 

Sophomore closer Jonathan Holder was named Wednesday one of five finalists for the NCBWA's ninth annual Stopper of the Year Award, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association announced. 

 

The Biloxi product, a first-team 2013 Louisville Slugger All-American selection by Collegiate Baseball and a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection, is 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA and a school-record 17 saves. He has allowed six earned runs and has a team-high 81 strikeouts in 46 innings. 

 

"The closer role is just something I really fell into almost by accident," Holder said. "The fact is one afternoon in Alabama after (former MSU reliever) Caleb Reed had been used a lot lately, I was given the opportunity for that save. Ever since that day, I've never given up that role and relished the chance of having it for the rest of my career." 

 

The finalists for the award also include NCAA saves leader Tyler Rogers, of Austin Peay State University; David Berg, of UCLA; Michael Lorenzen, of California State University at Fullerton; and Jimmie Sherfy, of the University of Oregon. 

 

The NCBWA's All-America Committee will announce this year's winner at 10 a.m. June 15 at TD Ameritrade Park, the site of the NCAA College World Series in Omaha, Neb. More than 90 of the nation's top collegiate relief pitchers were included in the selection process of this year's Stopper of the Year Award. 

 

"I love (the closer role) and just about everything about the adrenaline rush and coming in the last inning to get just a few outs gets me going," Holder said. 

 

 

 

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