STARKVILLE, Miss. - With a month of strength and conditioning work and small group training sessions under their belts, the Mississippi State Bulldogs begin their formal fall team baseball practice Friday with an afternoon scrimmage at Dudy Noble Field, Polk-DeMent Stadium.
The Bulldogs' fall squad, nearly 40 players strong, are set to play the first of an anticipated 23 fall scrimmage games Friday, with the initial game set for a 4 p.m. start. MSU will also scrimmage Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (2:30 p.m.). This weekend's practices as well as all of MSU's fall ball workouts are open to the public.
"We have a lot of young guys who have not played Southeastern Conference baseball vying spots on our team, especially on our infield and behind the plate," said John Cohen, set to begin his fourth fall practice as head baseball coach at Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs return 16 lettermen and 14 pitchers from the 2011 baseball edition that posted a 38-25 record and came within eight outs of earning Mississippi State's ninth advancement to the NCAA College World Series. State's fall roster also includes 15 talented newcomers and six returning redshirted players eager to challenge for possible starting status.
Starting outfielders C. T. Bradford (.303, 34 RBI), the MVP of the NCAA Atlanta Regional and a freshman All-American, and senior Brent Brownlee (.279, 24 RBI) are back along with five other players who drew starts as position players in 2011.
Two of MSU's three weekend rotation starters, Nick Routt (3-3, 3.86) and Chris Stratton (5-7, 5.21) return to head up a host of veteran hurlers that includes senior relief ace Caleb Reed (12 saves, 1.55 ERA) and junior Luis Pollorena (7-5, 4.45).
"What we've been able to get done in the weight room in the month since the players returned to campus has been phenomenal," said Cohen. "Our strength and conditioning plan is very good and we are already seeing tremendous gains from those workouts."
Mississippi State launches its 2012 campaign and a school-record 37-game home schedule February 17 with a three-game homestand against Pac 10 foe Washington State.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Fans will be given the opportunity to tour the Mize Pavilion from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday prior to kickoff of the Mississippi State-Louisiana Tech football game.
Doors on both sides of the new state-of-the-art basketball practice facility, which is connected to Humphrey Coliseum, will be unlocked for entrance. Tours will include stops at the weight room, both the men's and women's playing courts and offices, along with the reception area.
The facility, which opened in June, came to fruition thanks to the generosity of the Henry Mize Foundation, which was founded in April of 2003 following the death of its namesake, a Booneville native and 1938 graduate of Mississippi State and lifetime supporter of Bulldog athletics.
The total cost of the Mize Pavilion, which also features an 84-space parking garage, was $11.2 million. The spacious facility is 57,611 square feet and contains 28,900 square feet of court space.