February 21, 2014 11:20:41 AM
STARKVILLE -- John Cohen doesn't like when he has seen from his team in four games this season.
The No. 7 Mississippi State baseball team will try to change its course at 4 p.m. today when it plays host to Holy Cross in the first game of a four-game weekend series at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU (2-2) stumbled in its season opener, falling to Western Carolina 3-2. Jeremy Null limited MSU to three hits and struck out 12, but MSU starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff failed to get out of the second inning.
The problems continued Wednesday in a 6-4 loss to Memphis, as shortstop Matthew Britton made two errors in three innings. The junior from Cullman, Ala., hasn't distinguished himself in the battle to see who will replace Adam Frazier.
Cohen and the Bulldogs also are looking to find an every-day catcher. None of the four players vying to replace Nick Ammirati and Mitch Slauter have stood out.
"It's a real lack of maturity," Cohen said. "We've got guys on our ball club that are trying to pretend to be something they're not."
MSU is hitting .210 and has an on-base percentage of .397 clip. The Bulldogs have struck out 40 times and have left 39 runners on base.
"We're taking selfish swings, softball swings," Cohen said. "Like the 280-pound guy who plays on weekends and has a job."
Cohen said he and the coaches have turned to the team leaders to revitalize the roster. He said he wants the experienced players who were part of the team's run to the College World Series Championship Series figure out the identity of the 2014 team and determine how the team can have success.
Woodruff will start tonight for MSU. Junior right-hander Trevor Fitts will start Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader. The Game 2 starter hasn't been determined, but freshman right-hander Dakota Hudson is slated to take the mound Sunday.
Holy Cross (0-0) was picked third in the 2014 Patriot League preseason poll. The league's head coaches and sports information directors vote on the poll. The Crusaders (28-25, 15-5 Patriot League) won the league's regular-season title last season. Junior outfielder Evan Ocello was named 2014 Preseason Player of the Year after he earned first-team All-Patriot League accolades in 2013. He batted .338 a season ago with 46 runs scored, 67 hits, three home runs, 25 RBIs, and 15 stolen bases.
Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.
2. Schaefer, Stuedeman travel to promote respective programs COLLEGE SPORTS