MSU-Ole Miss Baseball Series Preview

No. 13 ranked Mississippi State and No. 20th Ole Miss face off in a three-game Southeastern Conference series this weekend at Ole Miss.

Weather - Friday - Temperatures should be in the low 70s to high 60s during the game. There is a 50% chance for scattered thunder-storms during the game, tailing off to 30% by the end of the game. | Saturday - Temperatures should be in the low 70s throughout the game. There is a 10% chance for thunder-storms. | Sunday - Temperatures should be in the high 60s throughout the game. There is a 0% chance for scattered thunder-storms.

Gametimes (CT) - Friday 6:30 pm. | Saturday 4:00 pm | Sunday 1:00 p.m.

Coaches - Mike Bianco's Ole Miss teams have an overall record of 471-278 during his twelve-year career. His teams have a 193-164 SEC record and have won one SEC overall championship and two Western Division conference championships. Ten of his twelve teams have advanced to NCAA Regional play with four moving on to Super Regional play. None have played in the College World Series. His teams have a 22-21 NCAA postseason record.

John Cohen, who is entering his fifth season as the head coach at Mississippi State, has an overall record of 126-111, including a combined 78-49 in 2011 and 2012, and a 45-74 record in SEC play (30-30 SEC W-L record in 2011-2012). His 2011 and 2012 teams appeared in regionals with his 2011 team advancing to a Super Regional. His teams overall NCAA postseason record is 5-4.

SEC Games Schedule Comparison - Ole Miss has played Arkansas (15-8), Texas A&M (10-13), Florida (12-12), Vanderbilt (21-2), Alabama (11-12), Tennessee (6-16), Kentucky (10-14) and Auburn (9-15). Their combined SEC records are 94-92. Mississippi State has played LSU (19-5), Kentucky (10-14), Arkansas (15-8), Florida (12-12), Texas A&M (10-13), Auburn (9-15), Vanderbilt (21-2) and Alabama (11-12). Their combined records are 107-81.

Mississippi State Road/Ole Miss Home Records - Mississippi State is 9-7 on the road while Ole Miss is 20-8 at home.

Expected Pitching Rotations - Ole Miss will start junior RHP Bobby Wahl (9-0, 1.21 ERA) Friday night, junior RHP Mike Mayers (3-4, 3.16) Saturday and sophomore RHP Sam Smith (2-0, 3.35) Sunday.

Wahl, a likely first-round draft pick in the June MLB draft, has been exceptional in SEC play. In 6 of his 8 SEC outings he has given up 1 or less runs. In his last 5 SEC outings he has given up 2 earned runs (3 total runs) in 36.2 innings (0.49 ERA). He'll normally throw between 7 to 9 innings in his outing. While he has been very, very good overall in SEC play, he has been a little better at home than on the road with a home ERA of 0.65 and a 1.15 road ERA.

Mayers has been a decent SEC starter for Ole Miss as evidenced by his 4.03 SEC ERA. He has been much better at home than on the road with a 2.35 home ERA compared to a 6.22 road ERA. He'll normally given Ole Miss 5 to 6 innings in an outing.

Smith has been a guy who has gotten better as the season has progressed. Evidence of this is how he has done in his last three outings (15 IP, 4 ER, 2.40 ERA) compared to his first 3 SEC outings (12 IP, 9 ER, 6.75 ERA). Oddly enough, he's been better on the road than at home in his SEC outings. His home ERA is 5.51 while his road ERA is 1.76. He'll normally throw 4+ to 5+ innings in an outing.

Mississippi State will throw senior LHP Luis Pollorena (6-2, 3.92 ERA) Friday night, senior RHP Kendall Graveman (5-4, 2.47) Saturday and sophomore LHP Jacob Lindgren (4-2, 3.44) Sunday.

Pollorena has been a decent starter in SEC action, giving up 19 runs (18 earned) in 33.1 innings for a 4.86 ERA. He's pitched better on the road than at home in SEC action, giving up 10 earned runs in 13.2 innings in home games (6.57 ERA) and 8 earned runs in 20 innings on the road (3.60 ERA). He'll normally throw 6+ innings.

Graveman has been solid in SEC play, allowing 15 earned runs in 56 innings pitched (2.41 ERA). In SEC games he's pitched a little better at home than on the road with a 2.89 road ERA compared to a 1.93 home ERA. He's normally going to throw between 6 and 9 innings in his outing.

Lindgren has been decent in SEC play with a 4.94 ERA. While he has pitched well at home (20.2 IP, 7 ER, 3.04 ERA), he has struggled on the road (10.1 IP, 20 ER, 8.71 ERA). He looked like he was turning the corner in SEC play when he allowed just 3 runs (1 earned) in 13.1 combined innings against Texas A&M and Auburn (0.68 ERA), then had two rough outings against Vanderbilt and Alabama (3.2 IP, 6 ER, 14.59 ERA). When he's pitching well, he'll usually give MSU 4+ to 5+ innings.

Relief Pitching - Ole Miss will primarily use six relievers - redshirt senior RHP Tanner Bailey (4-1, 2 Saves, 1.59 ERA), senior RHP Brett Huber (3-2, 10 S, 1.89), freshman LHP Matt Denny (1-1, 0 S, 2.60), junior RHP Aaron Greenwood (3-3, 2 S, 2.65), sophomore RHP Chris Ellis (1-2, 0 S, 5.30) and junior LHP Jeremy Massie (0-1, 1 S, 2.45).

I'll key on the last 3 SEC series for the relievers.

Bailey has been solid in his last few outings, giving up 3 earned runs in 6.2 innings for a 4.03 ERA. He's performed in middle relief as well as closed a couple of games during that period. Although he will thrown between 2/3rds and 1+ innings, he's been better when he threw 1 inning or less.

Huber, Ole Miss' closer, has struggled in his last few SEC outings, giving up 2 earned runs (3 runs total) in 3.1 innings for a 5.41 ERA. Earlier in the SEC season he was very good, giving up just 1 run (earned) in 8 innings for a 1.13 ERA.

Denny is a left-on-left matchup reliever and he's performed well in that role of late, giving up no earned runs (2 unearned) in 1.1 innings over the course of three appearances.

Greenwood, after pitching well in the first 5 SEC series (17.2 IP, 4 ER, 2.03 ERA) of the year, has really struggled in the last 3 SEC series, giving up 5 earned runs on 10 hits and 2 walks in 3.1 innings (13.51 ERA).

Ellis has performed ok in his recent SEC outings, giving up 2 earned runs (5 total runs) in 5.1 innings of work over the course of 3 games for a 3.38 ERA.

Massie has come on strong in his last 2 SEC appearances, giving up no runs on no hits or walks while striking out 1 in 3 innings of work. In those two games he was the closer for both.

Mississippi State will likely use seven pitchers in relief, sophomore RHP Jonathan Holder (2-0, 13 Saves, 1.26 ERA), sophomore LHP Ross Mitchell (9-0, 1 S, 1.32), junior RHP Ben Bracewell (0-1, 1 S, 1.83), sophomore RHP Trevor Fitts (0-0, 0, 1.46), senior LHP Chad Girodo (4-1, 0 S, 1.16), freshman RHP Myles Gentry (3-0, 0 S, 3.27) and sophomore RHP Will Cox (2-1, 0 S, 3.43).

Like I did with the Ole Miss relievers, I will key on the last three SEC series for the relievers.

Holder, MSU's closer, has pitched in 5 of MSU's last 9 SEC games and has pitched extremely well, giving up no runs on 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 22 in 11.1 innings. He's normally going to throw 2 to 2+ innings when he comes in.

Ross Mitchell is MSU's primary middle reliever. In 4 SEC games in the last 3 series he has given up 3 earned runs (5 runs total) in 8.2 innings for a 3.10 ERA. He has pitched upwards of 6 innings in SEC action but of late has pitched 1+ to 2+ innings in his outings.

Bracewell, after struggling with his control in the early going in SEC action, has pitched really well in the last couple of SEC series, giving up 1 run on 3 hits and 0 walks while striking out 4 in 6 innings (1.50 ERA). He's pitched 2+ to 3+ innings in each of those outings.

Fitts has pitched well in his last 2 outings, giving up 1 earned run on 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 4 in 3 innings (3.00 ERA). He'll normally throw 1 inning but can throw up to 2.

Girodo has pitched well of late, giving up no runs in 4 innings of work in 4 games. He was a left-on-left matchup guy early on but has been used against both lefties and righties of late.

Gentry struggled in SEC play during the first two-thirds of the season but has performed a little better of late. After giving up 4 earned runs in 2 innings of work during the first part of the SEC season (18.00 ERA), he has given up 1 earned run in 1.2 innings in his last 2 outings (5.29 ERA).

Cox is a right-on-right matchup reliever. He'll normally come in and face 1 or 2 righties then be taken out. In his 2 outings during the past 3 SEC series, he has allowed 0 earned runs (1 unearned) in 1 inning of work.

Who's Hot at the Plate and Who's Not in the Last 5 Games - For Ole Miss junior Stuart Turner leads the way with a .550 batting average (11-for-20, 4 RB), followed by senior Tanner Mathis who is hitting .409 (9-for-22, 0 RBI), senior Andrew Mistone who comes in at .381 (8-for-21, 1 RBI) and junior Austin Anderson who is batting .375 (6-for-16, 4 RBI). Sophomore Auston Bousfield is hitting .263 (5-for-19, 2 RBI), freshman Christian Helsel is hitting .200 (3-for-15, 1 RBI), junior Preston Overbey is batting .188 (3-for-16, 5 RBI) and junior Will Allen comes in at .100 (1-for-10, 1 RBI). In part-time duty Sikes Orvis is batting .625 (5-for-8, 3 RBI), sophomore Will Jamison is hitting .444 (4-for-9, 1 RBI), freshman Holt Perdzock is hitting .375 (3-for-8, 2 RBI) and junior Lance Wilson is batting .000 (0-for-5, 0 RBI).

Mississippi State is led at the plate by junior C.T. Bradford who is batting .429 (9-for-21, 3 RBI), followed by junior Brett Pirtle who comes in at .417 (5-for-12, 3 RBI) and freshman Jacob Robson who is hitting .375 (6-for-16, 3 RBI). Junior Hunter Renfroe is batting .278 (5-for-18, 4 RBI), junior Alex Detz is batting .238 (5-for-21, 1 RBI), sophomore Wes Rea is hitting .211 (4-for-19, 4 RBI), junior Adam Frazier comes in at .190 (4-for-21, 2 RBI) and senior Nick Ammirati is hitting .133 (2-for-15, 0 RBI). In part-time duty senior Sam Frost is hitting .625 (5-for-8, 0 RBI), junior Derrick Armstrong is batting .400 (2-for-5, 0 RBI), senior Trey Porter is hitting .222 (2-for-9, 4 RBI) and junior Demarcus Henderson is batting .000 (0-for-5, 0 RBI).

How Ole Miss and MSU Match Up
Ole Miss Category Mississippi State
33-16 Record 36-13
.281 Batting Average .294
264 (5.4 pg) Runs 309 (6.3 pg)
18 Home Runs 27
.361 OB % .394
40-74 Stolen Bases-Attempts 51-67
174 (3.6 pg) Walks 222 (4.5 pg)
268 (5.5 pg) Strikeouts 316 (6.4 pg)
364 (7.4 pg) LOB 417 (8.5 pg)
2.68 Team ERA 2.58
15 Saves 15
173 (3.5 pg) Walks 164 (3.3 pg)
354 (7.2 pg) Strikeouts 410 (8.4 pg)
.233 Batting Average Against .219
.969 Fielding % .975

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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