The other Diamond Dogs who have been hurting in recent weeks are all at or close enough to full-strength for the post-season. This includes middle infielder Brandon Turner (hamstring) who is expected to start at either second base or shortstop for Friday's game with Stetson. Outfielder/DH Jeff Flagg's back is not an issue now either, and late-relief pitcher Aaron Weatherford reports no problems with his right shoulder.
The full 25-Dog roster for this weekend is:
RIGHTHANDED PITCHERS (6): Chad Crosswhite, Josh Johnson, John Lalor, Ricky Bowen, Greg Houston, Aaron Weatherford
LEFTHANDED PITCHERS (3): Justin Pigott, Jesse Carver, Tyler Whitney
INFIELDERS (8): 1B/LHP Mitch Moreland, 1B/DH Brian LaNinfa, 2B/OF Jeffrey Rea, 2B/SS Brandon Turner, SS Jet Butler, 3B Russ Sneed, 3B Connor Powers, 3B Michael Rutledge
OUTFIELDERS (5): Mark Goforth, Joseph McCaskill, Nick Hardy, Jeff Flagg, Andy Rice
CATCHERS (3): Edward Easley, Wyn Diggs, Ryan Duffy
Of course Moreland and Rea can and do start in outfield positions, and these are strong possibilities depending on how Mississippi State wants to attack Stetson's expected right-handed starting pitching. As of Wednesday morning Coach Ron Polk said he has still not selected a lineup for Friday's game with the Hatters, and might not finalize things right until just before the 1:00et contest at Dick Howser Stadium.
Polk did confirm that righthander Chad Crosswhite will get the ball Friday. The sophomore had been Mississippi State's game-one starter in the last seven regular-season SEC series, until the league tournament. Then Crosswhite was moved back a day to the second game, with junior lefthander Justin Pigott taking the hill for game-one.
Pigott has been tabbed to start the Saturday game regardless of whether State is in the winner's or loser's bracket. Host Florida State plays Bethune-Cookman at 7:00 in the Friday evening game.
Mississippi State was to bus to Tallahassee, leaving at 1:30 today. The Dogs will practice Thursday from 11:30am to 12:45, prior to the 1:00 press conference at Howser Stadium. There will be a tournament dinner at 7:00 at the football stadium.
The tournament game schedule is the same Friday-through-Sunday with games at 1:00 and 7:00 each day. If a seventh game is necessary it will be at 7:00 Monday.