MSU-Clemson Baseball Preview

Mississippi State and Clemson tangle in a three-game Super Regional series to be held at MSU.

Weather - Friday, mostly sunny with highs in the high 80's and low 90's. With the humidity added, it will feel like 94 to 96 | Saturday, expect the same kind of weather as Friday | Sunday, more of the same although the temperature will be a few degrees hotter.

Gametimes - Both Friday and Saturday games start at 11 a.m. | Sunday's game (if necessary) will start at Noon. All times are CT.

MSU Home/Clemson Road Records - MSU is 22-8 at home. Clemson is 12-9 at non-neutral site road games.

Expected Pitching Rotations (comparisons are based on their last three starts unless otherwise indicated) - Expect Clemson to start junior LHP Daniel Moskos (3-5, 2.91) on Friday, junior RHP Daniel Kopp (6-2, 3.67) on Saturday and either sophomore RHP D. J. Mitchell (5-0, 3.27) or sophomore LHP Ryan Hinson (6-2, 2.61) on Sunday if the series goes to a third game. MSU will counter with sophomore RHP Chad Crosswhite (8-4, 4.16) on Friday, junior LHP Justin Pigott (6-6, 4.31) on Saturday and senior RHP Josh Johnson (3-3, 6.21) on Sunday.

Moskos was the 4th player selected in the 1st round of the Major League Baseball Draft Thursday. In his last three starts he has thrown 19.2 innings, giving up 8 runs (all earned) on 21 hits and 6 walks. He struck out 8. His three-start ERA is 3.86. Since Clemson will be on the road, I also looked up his away starts. In 4 away starts he has thrown 19.2 innings, giving up 10 runs on 25 hits and 10 walks, while striking out 17. His away ERA is 4.58. He's usually most effective the first two innings, then teams appear to get to him in the third. In his four road starts and the two tournament starts, he gave up just 1 run in the first two innings. However, in the third inning he gave up 5 runs. In the 4th, 5th and 6th he gave up 2, 3 and 3 runs. In his last two outings, he's thrown 7.2 and 8 innings, but he's a maximum effort type pitcher, so the hot weather could play a factor in how long he goes in the game.

It doesn't get much easier for the Bulldog hitters the next day when you consider that Kopp was selected in the 2nd round (71st pick). As for his last three outings, he threw 20 innings, allowing 11 runs (8 earned) on 21 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 12. His three-start ERA is 3.60. As for his effectiveness away from home, he's thrown 34.2 innings, giving up 21 runs (20 earned) on 37 hits and 9 walks, while striking out 25. His road ERA is 4.78. In his six away starts and two tournament starts he usually throws in the 5 to 7 inning range. He is most effective in the first inning, giving up 2 runs in that inning. He's in the 4 to 6 run range from the 2nd to 6th inning. He's given up no runs in the 7th inning.

Mitchell has been the third starter of late. In his last three starts he has thrown 15.2 innings, giving up 9 runs (8 earned) on 17 hits and 8 walks, while striking out 13. His ERA is 4.59. As for how he does on the road, he's started 3 road games and has thrown 15.1 innings, allowing 10 runs (9 earned) on 15 hits and 7 walks. He's struck out 10. His road ERA is 5.28. In his four starts (3 road, 1 tournament) he's most effective the first three innings, having given up just 1 run in those innings. In the 4th and 5th innings he's given up 3 runs each inning.

Hinson has been the most effective of all of Clemson's starters his last three outings as well as on the road. In his last three starts he has given up 5 runs (all earned) on 17 hits and 5 walks, while striking out 11 in 18 innings. His three-start ERA is 2.50. On the road he's had four starts, allowing 9 runs (7 earned) on 23 hits and 6 walks, while striking out 21. His road ERA is 2.59. In his four road starts and 1 tournament start his most effective innings are the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th. In those four innings combined, he's only given up 1 run. In the 1st and 5th, however, he's given up 4 runs each inning.

On the Bulldog side of the ledger, Crosswhite, in his last three outings, has thrown 15.1 innings, giving up 7 runs (all earned) on 19 hits and 8 walks, while striking out 10. His three-start ERA is 4.11.

Pigott has been extremely effective in his last three outings. He's thrown 7, 7 and 8 innings. In those 22 innings, he's given up 4 runs (all earned) on 16 hits and 5 walks, while striking out 9. His ERA in those three outings is 1.64.

Johnson, on the other hand, hasn't been that effective in his last three starts. Only going 6, 2.1 and 3.1 innings, he's given up 13 runs (12 earned) on 16 hits and 6 walks. He's struck out 11. His ERA is 9.25.

Relief Pitching (based on the last 9 to 11 games of the season) - Clemson, during their last nine games, has mainly used three relief pitchers - Alan Farina, Stephan Clyne and, if he's not the third starter, Ryan Hinson.

Farina, who was drafted in the third round during the first day of the Major League Baseball Draft, has appeared in 4 of Clemson's last 9 games. He's thrown 7.2 innings, allowing 6 runs (5 earned) on 9 hits and 5 walks, while striking out 12. His ERA during those four outings is 5.87. He normally throws from 1 to 3 innings. He's given up at least 1 run in each of the 4 outings.

Clyne, another 3rd round draft pick in yesterday's draft, has thrown 4 innings in his last four outings, giving up 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits and 4 walks. He's struck out 7. His ERA in those four outings is 6.75.

Hinson has appeared in two games as a reliever, giving up 2 hits and 2 walks in 3.2 innings. He gave up no runs in the two outings.

Clemson has also used Matt Vaughn, Alex Martin, Sarratt and Zoltak, but most of their appearances have been of the 0.1 to 0.2 innings variety.

While Clemson's bullpen has been suspect of late, MSU's strongest point has been their bullpen during the last 11 games. Leading the charge is John Lalor, Ricky Bowen and Aaron Weatherford. Mitch Moreland has also seen a little action as well.

Although he gave up 3 runs in 1.2 innings in his last outing, Lalor was very effective in his three previous outings. When you combine his stats for all four relief appearances, he has thrown 12.1 innings, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits and 5 walks, while striking out 13. His four-game ERA is 2.19. He normally throws in the 2 to 4 inning range.

Bowen, selected to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Baseball Team, has appeared in more games, but thrown less innings than Lalor. In his 6.2 innings of work, he has allowed 1 run (earned) on 3 hits and 4 walks, while striking out 8. His ERA is 1.35. He normally throws 1 to 2 innings during an outing.

Weatherford, who has been clocked as high as 98 miles per hour this year but normally throws in the 90 to 94 range, is MSU's closer. In his most recent three games, he threw 4.1 innings, giving up 1 run on 2 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 6. His ERA is 2.08. In his two appearances against Florida State in the Tallahassee Regional, he completely shut them down to seal MSU's two victories against FSU. He normally throws no more than an inning or two.

Moreland is also used as a closer on occasion. In his two most recent outings, he threw a perfect 2 innings, while striking out 2.

When you combine their numbers over the course of the Bulldogs last 11 games, the foursome has an ERA of 1.78.

Who's Hot at the Plate and Who's Not in Tournament and Regional Games - Clemson's hitters are almost as hot as the weather. They have six players who are batting over .333 for the tournament and regional games. Leading the way is Andy D'Alessio with a .450 batting average (9-for-20, 6 RBI) and Marquez Smith with a .444 batting average (11-for-25, 8 RBI). Hitting in the high .300's is Doug Hogan .385 (10-for-26, 4 RBI) and Taylor Harbin at .370 (10-for-27, 4 RBI). Addison Johnson comes in at .348 (8-for-23, 4 RBI), and J. D. Burgess at .333 (7-for-21, 1 RBI). Brad Chalk is hitting a decent .286 (8-for-28, 5 RBI). Wilson Boyd is slumping as his .190 (4-for-21) shows.

While MSU's hitters aren't putting up the numbers as Clemson has in postseason play, part of the reason behind that could be the fact that they have faced a 1st round draft pick (Vandy's David Price) and a 2nd round draft pick (Ole Miss' Will Kline) in 2 of their last 5 games. Now they face another first rounder Friday and a 2nd rounder Saturday. If the 'Dogs wind up in Omaha they definitely know they earned that right.

Leading the team in hitting during the past five games is senior Jeffrey Rea who is hitting at a .333 clip (7-for-21). Following him are Brandon Turner, recently named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Baseball Team, and Joseph McCaskill who are both hitting .316 (6-for-19). Those are the only three regulars hitting over .300. Next is freshman Jet Butler, who is hitting .278 (5-for-18, 1 RBI). Ed Easley, who was drafted in the supplemental 1st round of the MLB draft Thursday, is hitting .273 (6-for-22, 2 RBI), while another freshman, Russ Sneed, is hitting .267 (4-for-15, 4 RBI). Mitch Moreland is hitting .250 (5-for-20), but leads the team in RBI with 6. Slumping is Brian LaNinfa with a .176 average (3-for-17).

How Clemson and MSU Match Up
Clemson Category Mississippi State
41-21 Record 36-20
.293 Batting Average .316
383 (6.2 pg) Runs 394 (7.0 pg)
62 Home Runs 47
61/92 Stolen Bases/Attempts 42/62
247 (4.0 pg) Walks 191 (3.4 pg)
391 (6.3 pg) Strikeouts 375 (6.7 pg)
503 (8.1 pg) LOB 444 (7.9 pg)
3.65 Team ERA 4.76
12 Saves 16
222 (3.6 pg) Walks 155 (2.8 pg)
516 (8.3 pg) Strikeouts 467 (8.3 pg)
.262 Batting Average Against .292
.971 Fielding % .965
72 Errors 75

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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