Central Arkansas-MSU Baseball Series Preview

Mississippi State and Central Arkansas square off in a three-game series this weekend on the campus of Mississippi State University.

Weather - Friday should see temperatures in the low 50s during the game. | Saturday should see temperatures in the high 60s with winds from the south-southeast at 13 mph. No rain is expected. | Sunday's weather should see the temperatures in the high 60s with southeast winds at 13 mph. There is a 30% chance for rain.

Gametimes (CT) - Friday 6:30 p.m. | Saturday 2:00 p.m. | Sunday 1:00 p.m.

Central Arkansas Road Record/Mississippi State Home Record - Central Arkansas is 1-1 on the road while Mississippi State is 16-0 at home.

Expected Pitching Rotations - Central Arkansas is expected to start senior RHP Caleb McClanahan (3-0, 1.64 ERA) Friday night, senior LHP Jeffery Enloe (3-0, 2.38) Saturday and junior RHP Bryce Biggerstaff (1-0, 1.89) Sunday.

McClanahan, who was 6-5 with a 4.32 ERA last season, has been very effective in his three starts this season. He has thrown 7 or more innings in each one of them. While not a huge strikeout pitcher (15 in 22 innings), he has only walked 1 batter in the 22 innings. His 4 earned runs as a starter were all given up to Jackson State. The teams he has defeated are Murray State, Jackson State and New Orleans. Teams are only hitting .171 against him. All three games were played at home.

Enloe, who was 5-9 with a 5.44 ERA last season, has also been very effective in his three starts. He has thrown 6.0, 9.0 and 7.2 innings in the 3 outings. He has struck out 25 in 22.2 innings. His three outings were against Murray State, Kansas and Wichita State. All were at home. He has given up 1, 2 and 3 earned runs in the three games. Teams are hitting .253 against him.

Biggerstaff, who was 1-4 with a 3.50 ERA last season, has been pretty solid so far this season. While not quite as effective as the other two starters, he has thrown a no-hitter against Jackson State. In his other two outings (Murray State and New Orleans) he threw a combined 10.0 innings, allowing 6 runs (4 earned) on 15 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 6. Teams are hitting .217 against him.

Mississippi State is expected to start sophomore lefty Jacob Lindgren (2-0, 0.98) Friday, junior right-hander Evan Mitchell (0-0, 2.08) is expected to start Saturday while senior righty Kendall Graveman (1-0, 1.80) is State's probable starter Sunday.

Lindgren, who throws in the low 90s, has started 3 games this season, giving up just 2 earned runs in 18.1 innings. He has gotten better each outing, giving up 5, 3 and 1 hit in 6.0, 5.1 and 7.0 innings. He has 22 Ks in the 18.1 innings, with 13 in his last appearance. Of interest is the fact that Central Arkansas' top two hitters (Allday .491 & Zimmerle .409) are both left-hand hitters.

Mitchell, another hard thrower, hasn't been as effective as Lindgren in his first 3 outings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits and 10 walks, while striking out 16 in 13 innings. In his last outing - against St. Joseph's - he walked 5 in 5 innings, although he did strike out 9. His longest outing has been just 5 innings, which he has down twice.

Graveman, the veteran of the starters, is a ground ball out type pitcher when he's on. Graveman, like Mitchell, been plagued by walks. In his three outings, he has walked 7 in 15 innings, although in his last two he has only walked 3 in 8.2 innings.

Relief Pitching - Central Arkansas will probably rely on 5 pitchers in relief - sophomore RHP Connor McClain (0.00, 1-0, 1 save), junior LHP Jon Rand (0.00, 0-0), sophomore RHP Griffin Glaude (1.80, 0-0), freshman LHP Blake Clayton (2.45, 0-0) and senior RHP Ethan McKinzie (1.32, 2-0).

McClain is CA's closer. He has been very effective, allowing 0 runs in 4.1 innings. He has given up just 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 8. Teams are hitting .071 against him.

Rand, who is used for only an out or two when he comes in, has only allowed 1 hit in 2.2 innings in his five outings, while walking 0 and striking out 1. Teams are hitting .111 against him.

Glaude usually only pitches an inning when he comes in. He has given up 1 earned run in 5 innings while striking out 7 and walking 3. Teams are hitting .211 against him.

Clayton, who has appeared in 6 games - mainly as a matchup pitcher against 1 or 2 lefthanded hitters - has thrown 3.2 innings, allowing 1 earned run on 3 hits and no walks while striking out 5. Teams are hitting .231 against him.

McKinzie, who pitched well against MSU last season in CA's 2-0 win, is mainly used as a long reliever. Two of his three outings this season have been in relief. In those two appearances he threw 7.2 innings, allowing 2 earned runs on 6 hits and 3 walks while striking out 2.

You can expect Mississippi State to primarily use seven pitchers in relief, including sophomore RHP Jonathan Holder (1-0, 5 Saves, 0.00 ERA), sophomore LHP Ross Mitchell (4-0, 0 S, 0.77), senior LHP Chad Girodo (2-0, 0 S, 0.00), junior RHP Ben Bracewell (0-0, 1 S, 0.00), redshirt freshman RHP Preston Brown (0-0, 0 S, 1.29), freshman RHP John Marc Shelly (0-0, 0 S, 0.00) and freshman RHP Myles Gentry (0-0, 0 S, 3.00).

Holder, one of the top closers in the nation, has started this season like he pitched last season. In his 6 appearances this year, he has five saves and 1 victory. He has struck out 16 batters in his 7.1 innings of work. Teams are hitting .115 against him.

Mitchell is just as effective as Holder, although in a different role, middle to long relief. In his five outings, he has won 4 games. He can throw 1 inning or 6, whatever the need may be. Teams are hitting .150 against him.

While Holder has been dominant from the right side, Girodo has been almost as dominant from the left. In his 7.2 innings of work, he has struck out 13 while allowing teams to only hit .111 against him. He normally throws an inning but has thrown 3 innings in one game this season.

Bracewell, like Holder, has been used as a closer. In his 5 outings he has struck out 5 batters in 4.1 innings. Teams are hitting .143 against him.

Brown has been used as a setup man in his 6 outings and he's been very effective in that role. He has thrown 7 innings, striking out 5. Teams are only hitting .136 against him.

Shelly has been used as a closer in games that have gotten out of hand. And he's been very effective in that role, striking out 5 in 6 innings, while allowing teams to hit just .190.

Gentry has been used in middle relief and the setup man for the closer this season. He'll usually throw a couple of outs or an inning when he comes in. Teams are only hitting .118 against him.

Who's Hot at the Plate and Who's Not in the Last 5 Games - Central Arkansas is led at the plate by senior Forrestt Allday who is hitting .500 (10-of-20, 8 RBI). Following him are sophomore Nick Rougeau who comes in at .333 (4-of-12, 0 RBI), senior Michael Marietta is hitting at a .313 clip (5-of-16, 5 RBI), senior Ethan Harris is hitting .300 (3-of-10, 5 RBI), senior Garrett Brown comes in at .250 (3-of-12, 1 RBI), junior Jonathan Davis is hitting .238 (5-of-21, 7 RBI), senior Blake Marchal comes in at .222 (4-of-18, 2 RBI) and junior Justin Treece is batting .214 (3-of-14, 1 RBI).

In limited action - junior Scott Zimmerle is hitting .333 (3-of-9, 3 RBI), freshman Tyler Langley is hitting at a .167 clip (1-of-6, 0 RBI), junior Logan Moon is hitting .000 (0-of-6, 0 RBI) and junior Doug Votolato is also hitting .000 (0-of-5, 2 RBI).

Mississippi State is led at the plate by junior Alex Detz, who is hitting .571 (8-of-14, 5 RBI). junior C.T. Bradford follows him with a .500 batting average (8-of-16, 1 RBI). Not far behind is junior Hunter Renfroe who is hitting .400 (4-of-10, 5 RBI). Junior Adam Frazier comes in at .368 (7-of-19, 5 RBI). Hitting at a .333 clip is junior Demarcus Henderson (4-of-12, 1 RBI). Senior Mitch Slauter is hitting .250 (4-of-16, 2 RBI) and freshman Jacob Robson is hitting .154 (2-of-13, 0 RBI).

In limited action: Sophomore Tyler Fullerton is hitting .600 (3-of-5, 2 RBI), freshman Kyle Hann comes in at .333 (2-of-6, 0 RBI), junior Brett Pirtle is hitting .250 (2-of-8, 1 RBI), junior Daryl Norris comes in at .200 (1-of-5, 3 RBI), senior Nick Ammirati is hitting .200 (1-of-5, 0 RBI), senior Sam Frost is batting .143 (1-of-7, 0 RBI), sophomore Matthew Britton comes in at .125 (1-of-8, 0 RBI) and senior Trey Porter is hitting .000 (0-of-7, 1 RBI).

How Central Arkansas and MSU Match Up
Central Arkansas Category Mississippi State
12-1 Record 16-0
.300 Batting Average .330
129 (9.9 pg) Runs 122 (7.6 pg)
2 Home Runs 7
.466 OB % .426
25-31 Stolen Bases-Attempts 23-30
111 (8.5 pg) Walks 68 (4.3 pg)
81 (6.2 pg) Strikeouts 101 (6.3 pg)
124 (9.5 pg) LOB 133 (8.3 pg)
2.12 Team ERA 1.25
1 Saves 6
23 (1.8 pg) Walks 51 (3.2 pg)
93 (7.2 pg) Strikeouts 158 (9.9 pg)
.209 Batting Average Against .174
.971 Fielding % .977

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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