Bulldogs and Rebels will go at it again in Trustmark Park Tuesday evening. Game time has shifted from the original to 6:30 now for ESPNU’s convenience. That should not cut into the crowd coming to Pearl at all. These are not just rivals but a couple of teams back on a winning roll.
Mississippi State is coming off a road series success at Louisiana State, which pulled the Bulldogs back into a tie for second in the Western Division with the Tigers. And, the Rebels. Their home sweeping of Auburn means a trio of 10-8 SEC squads with four wild weekends ahead.
“Ole Miss had a great weekend, they won Sunday in an emotional way,” Coach John Cohen said. “And they are really playing well right now. But you say that, everybody is playing pretty darned well.”
Pitching plans for a Tuesday non-conference contest is a tricky thing. Cohen is counting on a freshman to get the evening started, even if it is the first time as a collegian RHP Ryan Cyr will toss a first pitch. The kid has earned this opportunity.
“I’m really looking forward to Cyr getting back out there,” Cohen said. “He pitched pretty well last Wednesday.” That was as one of the host of moundsmen MSU used over 14 innings to beat Louisiana-Monroe 1-0 in Biloxi. Cyr didn’t open the game, he did go 3.0 middle innings with a hit and three strikeouts.
That same length of stint would suit his head coach fine. Or longer. “I would love to get through two or three innings, maybe a little more than that. But he’s really been impressive, he’s got great life on his fastball and he has a survivable fastball. We’d love to get him through the order a couple of times.”
Mississippi State would also love having OF Jacob Robson back in their order. The junior centerfielder has missed all of 11 games since injuring his left hand—ironically against Ole Miss on a slide play. Robson did make a brief pinch-run appearance last Wednesday and stole successfully.
Cohen said it is a small crack in the left hand restricting Robson, and a return will be based on pure pain tolerance. Mostly, at the plate. There is encouraging news here as Robson took some batting practice Monday wearing gloves cobbled-together by the training staff.
“He’s saying the swings really feel better wearing gloves,” Cohen reported. “I still think he’s a little away.” But under the right circumstance Robson could take the field at Trustmark Park tomorrow.
Whatever the outcome, Mississippi State will have to forget it fast. They have a short turnaround since their series at Alabama starts Thursday.