Tennessee-MSU Baseball Series Preview

Tennessee and Mississippi State play each other in a crucial three-game Southeastern Conference series this weekend at MSU.


Weather - Friday Night - Temperatures should be in the low 70s during the game ... if there is a game. As of now, there is a 70% chance of rain during the time of the game. | Saturday Day/Night (this is in case there are two games on Saturday) - The temperatures should be in the low 80s during the day and high 70s at the night. The chance for isolated thunderstorms during the afternoon and night is 30%. | Sunday - Temperatures should be in the mid 80s with a 30% chance of isolated thunderstorms.

Gametimes (CDT) - Friday 6:30 p.m. | Saturday 6:00 p.m. (TV-CSS) | Sunday 1:30 p.m.(TV-CBS Sports Network)

Coaches - This is Dave Serrano's third season as the head coach of Tennessee. During his first two seasons, his teams had an overall record of 46-61 and an SEC record of 16-42. Neither team made it to NCAA post-season play.

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.

Tennessee Road/Mississippi State Home Records - Tennessee is 8-10 on the road while Mississippi State is 20-11 at home.

Expected Pitching Rotations - Tennessee is expected to start freshman RHP Hunter Martin (3-3, 2.85 ERA) Friday, senior RHP Nick Williams (5-4, 3.73 ERA) Saturday and sophomore LHP Andy Cox (4-1, 1.87 ERA) Sunday.

Martin is 0-3 in his 7 SEC starts with an ERA of 3.72. In 36.1 innings he has given up 42 hits and walked 13 while striking out 24.

Williams is 2-3 with a 4.79 ERA in his 8 SEC starts. He has thrown 47.0 innings, giving up 53 hits and 10 walks while striking out 37.

Cox has started 2 SEC games, both the past two weekends. He has a 1-0 record in the two starts and an ERA of 2.84. He has allowed 8 hits and walked 9 while striking out 8 in 12.2 innings.

Mississippi State will start junior RHP Trevor Fitts (4-2, 2.62 ERA) Friday, junior LHP Ross Mitchell (7-4, 2.12 ERA) Saturday and TBA Sunday. My guess is sophomore RHP Preston Brown (4-1, 2.28 ERA) will throw Sunday.

Fitts is 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA in his 8 SEC starts. He has thrown 34.1 innings, allowing 34 hits and 4 walks while striking out 27.

Mitchell is 5-3 with a 2.31 ERA in the SEC. He has given up 50 hits and walked 15 while striking out 25 in 62.1 innings. Of his 8 SEC starts, he has completed 4.

Brown is 2-1 with a 4.19 SEC ERA in 4 SEC starts. He have given up 20 hits, walked 4 and struck out 9 in 15.1 innings.

Relief Pitching - It's likely Tennessee will use upwards of five relievers - freshman RHP Kyle Serrano (3-2, 1 Save, 4.67 ERA), junior RHP Josh Peterson (2-0, 0 S, 2.45 ERA), sophomore RHP Trevor Bettencourt (1-1. 2 S, 2.63 ERA), sophomore RHP Andrew Lee (4-2, 2 S, 4.63 ERA) and junior RHP Pete Lenstrohm (1-1, 0 S, 4.15 ERA).

Serrano has appeared in 8 SEC games, allowing 25 hits, walking 15 and striking out 11 in 24.2 innings. His SEC ERA is 4.01.

Peterson has thrown in 8 SEC games, throwing 13.2 innings. He has allowed 15 hits and walked 3 while striking out 11. His ERA in the SEC is 3.29.

Bettencourt has pitched in 8 SEC games, allowing 8 hits and 4 walks while striking out 7 in 10.2 innings. His SEC ERA is 3.38.

Lee has appeared in 9 SEC games this season, allowing 23 hits and 13 walks while striking out 16 in 21.1 innings of work. He has an ERA of 5.91 in the SEC.

Lenstrohm has thrown in 8 SEC games, giving up 13 hits while walking no one and striking out 8 in 10.1 innings. His ERA in the SEC is 6.10.

Mississippi State will likely throw junior LHP Jacob Lindgren (3-1, 3 Saves, 1.18 ERA), junior RHP Jonathan Holder (4-1, 6 S, 2.70 ERA), sophomore RHP Myles Gentry (0-0, 2 S, 4.24 ERA), junior RHP Brandon Woodruff (1-2, 9 S, 6.32 ERA) and senior RHP Ben Bracewell (3-4, 0 S, 2.82 ERA) in relief.

Lindgren has appeared in 11 SEC games, throwing 24.0 innings. He has given up 9 hits and 13 walks while striking out 44. His SEC ERA is 0.75.

Holder has thrown in 9 SEC games, allowing 19 hits while walking 4 and striking out 24 in 18.1 innings. His SEC ERA is 2.95.

Gentry has an ERA of 4.97 in 8 SEC outings. He has allowed 14 hits and walked 8 while striking out 8 in 12.2 innings.

Woodruff has thrown in 6 SEC games, allowing 19 hits while walking 4 and striking out 9 in 12.2 innings. His SEC ERA is 7.82.

Bracewell has an ERA of 3.60 in 8 SEC outings. He has allowed 24 hits and walked 10 while striking out 20 in 20.0 innings.

Who's Hot at the Plate and Who's Not in SEC Games - Leading Tennessee at the plate in SEC games is sophomore Christian Stewart who comes in batting .344 (33-of-96, 19 RBI) in SEC games. Next up is junior Will Maddox at .311 (28-of-90, 6 RBI), followed by senior Scott Price who is hitting .247 (18-of-73, 10 RBI), senior Taylor Smart at .233 (20-of-86, 11 RBI), sophomore Vincent Jackson who is hitting .222 (14-of-63, 9 RBI), sophomore A.J. Simcox at .209 (18-of-86, 3 RBI) and freshman Nathaniel Maggio at .194 (14-of-73, 10 RBI). In limited action, sophomore Derek Lance is hitting .333, junior Tyler Schultz is hitting .269 and sophomore David Houser is batting .192.

Mississippi State is led at the plate in SEC games by senior Brett Pirtle who is hitting .366 (34-of-93, 9 RBI), Next is true freshman Gavin Collins at .333 (17-of-51, 9 RBI). Following him is junior Seth Heck who comes in hitting .283 (26-of-92, 11 RBI). Senior Derrick Armstrong is hitting .278 (20-of-72, 6 RBI), while senior C.T. Bradford comes in at .273 (18-of-66, 13 RBI) and senior Alex Detz is hitting .250 (22-of-88, 16 RBI). Junior Matthew Britton is hitting .242 (15-of-62, 8 RBI), junior Jake Vickerson is hitting .232 (16-of-69, 1 RBI) and junior Wes Rea is hitting .227 (17-of-75, 10 RBI). In limited action, true freshman Reid Humphreys is hitting .333, redshirt freshman Cody Brown is hitting .256, junior Zack Randolph is hitting .225 and senior Demarcus Henderson is hitting .195.

How Tennessee and MSU Match Up
Tennessee Category Mississippi State
28-18 Record 31-18
.280 Batting Average .274
269 (5.8 pg) Runs 250 (5.1 pg)
17 Home Runs 12
.368 OB % .368
75-101 Stolen Bases-Attempts 60-80
187 (4.1 pg) Walks 212 (4.3 pg)
281 (6.1 pg) Strikeouts 290 (5.9 pg)
349 (7.6 pg) LOB 413 (8.4 pg)
3.49 Team ERA 3.05
12 Saves 13
164 (3.6 pg) Walks 160 (3.3 pg)
314 (6.8 pg) Strikeouts 398 (8.1 pg)
.239 Batting Average Against .247
.972 Fielding % .980

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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