MSU-Georgia Series Preview

Mississippi State and Georgia face off in a three-game Southeastern Conference series this weekend at Georgia.


Weather - Friday should be in the high to low 50s during the game with 0% chance for rain; Saturday should see the temperatures in the high 60s with about a 10% chance for rain; Sunday should see temperatures in the high 50s. There is a 90% chance of rain.

Gametimes (Central Time) - Friday 6 pm, Saturday 11 am and Sunday 12 pm

Coaches - This is Scott Stricklin's first year at Georgia. He previously was the head coach at Kent State where he had a record of 350 wins and 188 losses. Five of his nine teams played in NCAA regionals with one (2012 team) advancing to the College World Series where they finished 5th.

John Cohen, who is entering his sixth season as the head coach at Mississippi State, has an overall record of 177-131 and a 61-88 record in SEC play. His 2011, 2012 and 2013 teams appeared in regionals with his 2011 team advancing to a Super Regional and his 2013 team advancing to the College World Series where they were national runner-up. His teams overall NCAA postseason record is 13-7.

Georgia Home/Mississippi State Road Records - Georgia is 12-4 in home games this season while Mississippi State is 1-3 on the road.

Expected Pitching Rotations - Georgia is expected to start sophomore LHP Ryan Lawlor (1-1, 6.61) Friday night, freshman RHP Robert Tyler (1-0, 0.93) Saturday and redshirt senior LHP Patrick Boling (2-1, 2.57 ERA) Sunday.

Lawlor has started four games this season. He's struggled in three of them, giving up 12 earned runs in 10.1 innings. His last outing was his poorest with him giving up 4 runs in 1.1 innings. In his one good outing he gave up no runs in 6 innings against Binghamton.

Tyler has started two games and has only allowed 1 earned run (4 total) on 9 hits in 12.1 innings. He struck out 8 and walked 1 in the two outings. A 28th round draft pick by Baltimore in the 2013 MLB Draft, he was rated 65th among the top 100 prospects for the 2013 MLB Draft by MLB.com.

Boling has started four games this season, allowing 12 runs (6 earned) on 25 hits and 5 walks while striking out 11 in 21 innings. After struggling in his first two outings (6.2 IP, 10 R, 4 ER), he has pitched well in his last two (14.1 IP, 2 R, 2 ER).

Mississippi State is expected to start senior RHP Ben Bracewell (2-1, 1.74) on Friday, junior RHP Trevor Fitts (2-0, 3.92) on Saturday and TBA on Sunday. My guess is that will either be freshman RHP Dakota Hudson (1-1, 2.63) or junior RHP Brandon Woodruff (1-2, 7.43).

Bracewell has started three games this season, giving up 5 runs (4 earned) in 18.1 innings. During those games, he has given up 17 hits, while walking 2 and striking out 17.

Fitts has started four games this season. In 20.2 innings he has allowed 10 runs (9 earned) on 24 hits and 4 walks while striking out 25. He struggled in his last outing, against UC Santa Barbara, giving up 5 runs on 5 hits in 2.1 innings.

Hudson, who throws in the 92-94 range, topping out at 95/96, has started 4 games. He has thrown 13.2 innings, giving up 4 runs (all earned) on 19 hits and 5 walks while striking out 9. He had pitched well until his last appearance when he gave up 2 runs in 1+ inning against Arizona.

Woodruff, whose fastball velocity is in the low to mid-90s, has also started four games. In 13.1 innings of work, he has given up 12 runs (11 earned) on 16 hits and 14 walks while striking out 13.

Relief Pitching - Georgia has primarily used six pitchers in relief this year - redshirt senior RHP Dylan Cole (W-L 0-0, Saves 0, ERA 3.38), redshirt sophomore RHP David Sosebee (0-1, 0, 3.93), junior RHP Jared Cheek (3-2, 0, 4.61), redshirt junior RHP Ross Ripple (2-0, 0, 5.25), junior LHP Jarrett Brown (1-0, 0, 6.30), and redshirt sophomore RHP Pete Nagel (1-0, 0, 7.36).

Cole has appeared in 8 games this season, mostly in late relief. He's more of a setup guy for Georgia's two closers and usually comes in either the 6th or 7th inning and throws an inning. Teams are hitting .250 against him.

Sosebee is a middle reliever who has thrown in 7 games this season. He will usually throw anywhere from 2 innings to 5 innings. Teams are hitting .296 against him.

Cheek has been one of Georgia's two closers this season. He's appeared in 8 games. Unlike most closers, he's not a strikeout pitcher, only striking out 11 in 13.2 innings of work. Teams are hitting .170 against him.

Ripple is another middle reliever for the Bulldogs, throwing in 6 games this season. He'll usually throw 2 innings. He's had control problems, walking 9, throwing 4 wild pitches and hitting 1 batter in 12 innings this season. Teams are hitting .313 against him.

Brown has been both a middle reliever and a late reliever this season. He's appeared in 7 games. Like Ripple, he's had control issues, allowing 5 walks in 10 innings, while also throwing 5 wild pitches. Teams are hitting .349 against him.

Nagel has been the other Georgia closer this season. He's appeared in 7 games. While he's more of a strikeout pitcher, striking out 11 in 7.1 innings, he's also been wild this season, walking 8 and throwing 2 wild pitches. Teams are only hitting .185 against him.

Mississippi State will likely use around five relief pitchers including junior LHP Ross Mitchell (2-1, 1.67 ERA, 0 saves), junior LHP Jacob Lindgren (1-0, 1.69, 2), junior RHP Will Cox (0-0, 2.25, 2), sophomore RHP Myles Gentry (0-0, 2.79, 2) and junior RHP Jonathan Holder (1-1, 3.38, 1).

Mitchell, despite being a middle reliever, has thrown the most innings on the staff, 27. In his 27 innings, he has given up 6 runs (5 earned) on 21 hits and 7 walks while striking out 17. Teams are hitting .221 against him. Mitchell can thrown anywhere from 2 to 5+ innings if needed.

Lindgren is a hard-throwing lefty who throws his fastball in the 92-93 miles per hour range and also has a devastating slider that he can throw anywhere from 82 to 86 miles per hour. A strikeout pitcher, he has struck out 22 in 10.2 innings of work this season. Teams are only hitting .167 against him. He has been used in late relief and also as a closer.

Will Cox is another middle reliever for State. He has thrown fairly well this season, giving up 9 hits and 2 walks while striking out 12 in 8 innings. Teams are hitting .281 against him.

Gentry, a middle reliever, comes at you with a low arm slot. In 9.2 innings this season he has allowed 5 hits and 5 walks while striking out 10. Teams are hitting .167 against him.

Holder has been MSU's closer the past two seasons and is doing that again this year. He started the season slower than usual for him but it can be attributed to a blister on a finger. He is healthy again and appears to be the Holder of previous seasons. So far this season, he has thrown 10.2 innings, allowing 11 hits and 3 walks while striking out 11. Teams are hitting .250 against him.

Who's Hot at the Plate and Who's Not in the Last 5 Games - Georgia is led by redshirt junior Connor Welton who is hitting .458 (11-for-24, 5 RBI) in the last five games. Just behind him in hitting is another redshirt junior, Brandon Stephens who is hitting .454 (5-for-11, 0 RBI). Also hitting exactly.400 are juniors Hunter Cole (8-for-20, 3 RBI) and Heath Holder (4-for-10, 5 RBI). Not far behind them is junior Nelson Ward who comes in hitting .389 (7-for-18, 6 RBI). Next up is sophomore Zack Bowers at .286 (6-for-21, 8 RBI), freshman Stephen Wrenn at .235 (4-for-17, 3 RBI), junior Jared Walsh at .222 (4-for-18, 1 RBI) and sophomore Jess Posey who comes in hitting .188 (3-for-16, 5 RBI) in the last five games.

In limited action, freshman Skyler Weber is hitting .625 (5-for-8, 4 RBI) and sophomore Daniel Nichols is hitting .375 (3-for-8, 3 RBI).

Mississippi State - In the last five games, senior Demarcus Henderson has led MSU in hitting with a .400 average (4-for-10, 0 RBI). He's followed by junior Seth Heck who comes in hitting .333 (5-for-15, 1 RBI). Not far behind is senior C.T. Bradford at .313 (5-for-16, 5 RBI). Junior Wes Rea is hitting .300 (6-for-20, 0 RBI). Senior Brett Pirtle is hitting .222 (4-for-18, 2 RBI), junior Jake Vickerson comes in at .176 (3-for-17, 1 RBI), and senior Alex Detz is hitting .050 (1-for-20, 1 RBI).

In part-time duty redshirt freshman Cody Brown is hitting .571 (4-for-7, 2 RBI), redshirt junior Zack Randolph is hitting .333 (2-for-6, 1 RBI), senior Derrick Armstrong is hitting .286 (2-for-7, 1 RBI) and freshman Gavin Collins is hitting .000 (0-for-5, 1 RBI).

How Georgia and MSU Match Up
Georgia Category Mississippi State
12-6 Record 13-7
.297 Batting Average .276
129 (7.2 pg) Runs 111 (5.6 pg)
6 Home Runs 5
.407 OB % .393
22-29 Stolen Bases-Attempts 36-45
102 (5.7 pg) Walks 105 (5.3 pg)
108 (6.0 pg) Strikeouts 118 (5.9 pg)
163 (9.1 pg) LOB 172 (8.6 pg)
4.78 Team ERA 2.98
0 Saves 7
67 (3.7 pg) Walks 71 (3.6 pg)
112 (6.2 pg) Strikeouts 175 (8.8 pg)
.283 Batting Average Against .253
.970 Fielding % .985


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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