Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Diamond Dogs Open Intrasquad Season Tuesday With 46 Candidates For 35-Man Roster

They’ve had most of a month doing individual and small group work. Now the Diamond Dogs can assemble as an entire team and start playing fall baseball.

The fall semester schedule opens Tuesday with the first of 19 scrimmage games at Dudy Noble Field. Coach John Cohen will have a roster listing 46 candidates for the 35 roster slots allowed during the 2016 season.

That over-sized roster should add even more than the usual intrasquad competition to this fall. Though setting the official 35 isn’t necessary until just before the new season opens, what happens between Tuesday and the concluding scrimmage on October 18 will do much to cut down the total.

There are 18 returning lettermen from the 2015 season, along with a pair who played limited innings without lettering and three redshirts. All ten of those Dogs lettering as position players or DHs started games last season.

But the real fall interest is in Cohen’s best-regarded recruiting class since returning to Mississippi State for 2009. There are 15 players straight out of high school, albeit a couple of walk-ons; and six transfers as well.

This will definitely ramp-up the scrimmage intensity because more than the usual number of newcomers arrive expecting to play immediately. Start, in several cases. This despite the fact only two full-time starters from 2015 are gone, first baseman Wes Rea and shortstop Seth Heck. Alternate starters graduated are infielder Matt Britton and outfielder Jake Vickerson.

Most returning starters are not at all assured of retaining that status, if for no other reason than 2015 saw Mississippi State stumble to a losing record and miss all post-season play including the SEC Tournament. It should mean no job is safe between now and opening day, and even beyond as the touted rookie class shows their stuff and push veterans to raise their own games.

There have already been a number of ‘self cuts’ from a summer roster that was over 50, in fact. Starting pitcher Preston Brown has moved on to medical school as he’d intended and State expected. Underclassmen who are not on the fall roster are outfielder Joey Swinarski, and pitchers Paxton Stover, Jesse McCord, Levi Mintz, and Aaron Dominguez.

The ‘Bulldog World Series’ will be played much earlier this fall than last year, on October 17-18-19.

Mississippi State has not finalized the 2016 schedule. But a tentative slate has been made available, with 53 games listed. That is three-short of the NCAA limit. Because the SEC has yet to settle with networks which series will begin on Thursday, Mississippi State is holding back on some midweek games in case of conflicts.

The trip to Los Angeles for the Dodgertown Classic is still on, though only one of the three games will be played in Dodger Stadium. The first two games against either Southern Cal and UCLA, specific days still pending, will be on those campuses. Though playing in the big-league park would be more entertaining, playing in opposing fields does much more good for the Bulldog schedule strength and RPI in the long run. The third game, against Oklahoma, will be in Chavez Ravine.

State also hosts the long-awaited home series with Oregon, March 11-12-13, as the final weekend tune-up for conference season.

There will be the usual two trips to Pearl in 2016. State will be the home team for both games, against Southern Mississippi on March 29 and then Ole Miss on April 26. And the Bulldogs are headed to Biloxi for the first time, to play in new MGM Park on April 20 in the home stadium of the AA-Shuckers.

That game will stay on a Wednesday even if the following series at LSU is moved up to Thursday, sources say.

For this year’s inter-Division rotation, State will play at Vanderbilt and Florida and host Georgia and Missouri.




Date           Day            Opponent                 Time CT

Feb 19        Fri              Florida Atlantic          5:30

Feb 20        Sat             South Dakota State   noon

Feb 20        Sat             Florida Atlantic          4:30

Feb 21        Sun            South Dakota State   3:30

Feb 23        Tue             Memphis                   4:00

Feb 26        Fri              UMass Lowell            4:30

Feb 27        Sat             Nichols State            noon

Feb 27        Sat             UMass Lowell            4:30

Feb 28        Sun            Nichols State            3:30

Mar 1          Tue             Alcorn State              6:00

Mar 4          Fri              $@USC or UCLA       tba

Mar 5          Sat             $@UCLA or USC       tba

Mar 6          Sun            $Oklahoma               tba

Mar 8          Tue             South Alabama         6:30

Mar 11        Fri              Oregon                     6:30

Mar 12        Sat             Oregon                     2:00

Mar 13        Sun            Oregon                     11:00am

Mar 15        Tue             Eastern Kentucky      6:30

Mar 18        Fri              @Vanderbilt              tba

Mar 19        Sat             @Vanderbilt              tba

Mar 20        Sun            @Vanderbilt              tba

Mar 22        Tue             Miss. Valley State     6:30

Mar 25        Fri              Georgia                    6:30

Mar 26        Sat             Georgia                    2:00

Mar 27        Sun            Georgia                    1:30

Mar 29        Tue             #Southern Miss         6:30

Apr 1          Fri              Ole Miss                   6:30

Apr 2          Sat             Ole Miss                   2:00

Apr 3          Sun            Ole Miss                   1:30

Apr 5          Tue             UT-Martin                  6:30

Apr 8          Fri              @Florida                   tba

Apr 9          Sat             @Florida                   tba

Apr 10        Sun            @Florida                   tba

Apr 15        Fri              Texas A&M%            6:30

Apr 16        Sat             Texas A&M&             2:00

Apr 17        Sun            Texas A&M&             1:30

Apr 20        Wed           ^La-Monroe               6:00

Apr 22        Fri              @LSU                       tba

Apr 23        Sat             @LSU                       tba

Apr 24        Sun            @LSU                       tba

Apr 26        Tue             #Ole Miss                 6:30

Apr 29        Fri              @Alabama                tba

Apr 30        Sat             @Alabama                tba

May 1         Sun            @Alabama                tba

May 6         Fri              Missouri                    6:30

May 7         Sat             Missouri                    2:00

May 8         Sun            Missouri                    1:30

May 13       Fri              @Auburn                  tba

May 14       Sat             @Auburn                  tba

May 15       Sun            @Auburn                  tba

May 19       Fri              Arkansas                  6:30

May 20       Sat             Arkansas                  2:00

May 21       Sun            Arkansas                  1:30

May 24-29                     SEC Tournament

$ -- Dodgertown Classic (first two games on campus sites, Sunday at Dodger Stadium)

# -- Trustmark Park, Pearl

% -- Super Bulldog Weekend

^ -- MGM Park, Biloxi



No. Name Pos. Cl.

2 Hunter Stovall C/INF Fr.

3 Luke Reynolds INF Jr.

4 Delvin Zinn INF Fr.

5 Mike Smith OF Sr.

6 Luke Alexander INF Fr.

7 Jacob Robson OF RJr.

8 Gavin Collins C Jr.

9 Elih Marrero C/OF Fr.

10 Ryan Gridley INF So.

12 Reid Humphreys OF/INF Jr.

13 John Holland INF RSr.

14 Cole Gordon 1B/RHP RFr.

15 Jake Mangum OF/LHP Fr.

16 Josh Lovelady C Sr.

17 Paul Young RHP RJr.

18 Keegan James RHP Fr.

19 Brent Rooker OF RSo.

20 Jared Padgett LHP Fr.

22 Matt Spruill INF Sr.

23 Austin Sexton RHP Jr.

25 Dakota Hudson RHP Jr.

26 Cody Brown OF RJr.

28 Ryan Cyr RHP Jr.

29 Jacob Barfield INF So.

31 Ryan Rigby RHP So.

32 Vance Tatum LHP Jr.

33 Parker Ford RHP Fr.

34 Kale Breaux LHP Fr.

35 Jack Kruger C Jr.

36 Nathaniel Lowe 1B Jr.

38 Trent Waddell LHP RSr.

39 Logan Elliot RHP Jr.

40 Cole Barlow RHP RJr.

41 Zac Houston RHP Jr.

42 Blake Smith RHP Jr.

43 Andrew Mahoney LHP RFr.

44 Ethan Small LHP Fr.

45 Jacob Billingsley RHP RSo.

46 Trysten Barlow LHP Fr.

47 Myles Gentry RHP RJr.

48 Konnor Pilkington LHP Fr.

49 Daniel Brown LHP Jr.

50 Alex London LHP Fr.

51 Noah Hughes RHP Fr.

52 Tanner Poole OF Jr.

53 Brent Blaylock OF Fr.

Gene's Page Top Stories