May 29, 2014 11:23:43 AM
STARKVILLE -- Trevor Fitts will throw the first pitch for the No. 17 and second-seeded Mississippi State baseball team in the NCAA tournament Lafayette Regional on Friday.
MSU (37-22) sources confirmed Fitts, a junior right-hander, will start against Mountain West Conference tournament champion and third-seeded San Diego State (42-19) at 1 p.m. Friday in the first game of the NCAA Regional hosted by Louisiana-Lafayette.
MSU coach John Cohen said the Bulldogs officially will announce the team's starting pitcher today in its final media availability before it leaves for Louisiana.
"In the postseason, there are very few tomorrows," Cohen said Monday, "so you do whatever you can do to win that game. Game 1 is critical. There is no Game 2."
Cohen suggested on his call-in show Monday evening at Buffalo Wild Wings that SDSU's right-handed dominant lineup would call for a right-handed arm to start the NCAA Regional opener.
"It's more about us than it is the opponent," Cohen said. "But if something screams out about their club, if you do research and it says a right-handed breaking ball is the way to go against this club ... then you're going to listen to that."
Fitts (4-3, 2.51) has the most starts of any MSU pitcher this season (15), but he hasn't gone longer than 6 2/3 innings in any start. In Fitts' last three starts (vs. Tennessee, at Alabama, and vs. South Carolina) he hasn't gotten out of the fourth inning.
"My starting role is a little bit different than most guys," Fitts said Monday. "I'm out there for three or four innings when most guys would prefer to go eight innings. When I get in a jam and they bring in a guy like (left-hander Jacob) Lindgren, everybody on the ball club relaxes a little bit because there's this feeling of, 'All right, we're going to win this game for sure.' "
On Tuesday, Lindgren was named MSU's only representative on the first-team All-Southeastern Conference team. He was the only relief pitcher in the group.
SDSU is expected to start sophomore right-hander Bubba Derby (8-3, 2.69 ERA). Derby went 5-2 in league play with a 3.13 ERA while leading the Aztecs in both of those categories in Mountain West action. His ERA was sixth-best among league hurlers. He finished second in conference play in strikeouts.
Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.