MSU-Louisville Baseball Game Preview

Mississippi State and Louisville tangle in an elimination game at the College World Series Sunday at 1 pm. How do they compare?

Expected Starting Pitchers (comparisons are based on their last three starts) - Look for Louisville to start freshman LHP Justin Marks (8-2, 2.54) and MSU will start sophomore RHP Chad Crosswhite (8-4, 4.24).

Marks, in his last three outings, has thrown 17.1 innings, giving up 5 runs (all earned) on 11 hits and 11 walks while striking out 10. His earned run average during the three games is 2.59.

Crosswhite has thrown 16.1 innings during his last three starts. In those 16.1 innings he has given up 7 runs (6 earned) on 15 hits and 7 walks. He struck out 17. His ERA is 3.31.

Relief Pitching (based on the regional, super regional and CWS) - Louisville has, for the most part, counted on Trystan Magnuson, Kyle Hollander, Gavin Logsdon and Andrew Salgueiro during NCAA post-season play.

Logsdon has thrown 10.2 innings in 6 outings, giving up 2 runs (both earned) on 8 hits and 5 walks. He struck out 4. His ERA is 1.69.

Hollander has also made 6 appearances. In his 9.2 innings of work he has given up 1 earned run on 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 12. His ERA is 0.93.

Magnuson has thrown in 5 games. In 10.0 innings he has given up 9 runs (7 earned) on 13 hits and 3 walks, striking out 9. His post-season ERA is 6.30.

Salgueiro has appeared in 3 games, throwing 2.2 innings and giving up no runs on 2 hits and no walks. He struck out 4. His ERA is 0.00.

As for MSU, they normally throw Aaron Weatherford, Ricky Bowen, John Lalor and, sometimes, Mitch Moreland in relief.

Weatherford is MSU's primary closer. And he appeared in 4 of MSU's 5 regional games. He allowed no runs on 1 hit and 4 walks while striking out 10 in 5.2 innings. His ERA was 0.00. His fastball is usually thrown in the 91-93 range.

Bowen, who throws in the 89-92 mph range, has almost been as effective as Weatherford. In 5 games he also gave up no runs, but allowed 5 hits and walked 3 while striking out 10 in 8.0 innings of work. His ERA is also 0.00 during that period.

Lalor, normally the long reliever, appeared in four games, giving up 6 runs (all earned) on 7 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 9 in the 7.0 innings he threw. His ERA for the four games is 7.71.

Mitch Moreland has also been used as the closer out of the bullpen. In his two game appearances he threw 1.2 innings, giving up no run, hits or walks while striking out 2. Like Weatherford and Bowen, his ERA is 0.00.

Who's Hot at the Plate and Who's Not in the Last 5 Games - Louisville, who has six seniors and two juniors in their starting lineup, is red-hot at the plate right now. They have four starters hitting over .435 during the last five games. Leading the group is Jorge Castillo at .500 (11-for-22, 10 RBI). Not far behind is Boomer Whiting at .455 (10-for-22, 4 RBI). Slightly behind Whiting are Isaiah Howes and Pete Rodriguez at .435 (10-for-23. Howes has 9 RBI, while Rodriguez has 6. Coming down to earth, hitting-wise, is Logan Johnson at .348 (8-for-23, 5 RBI). Trailing him are David Burton at .333 (8-for-24, 2 RBI) and Chris Dominguez who is also batting .333 (7-for-21). Dominguez has a phenomenal 12 RBI. Chris Cates is hitting .304 (7-for-23, 4 RBI and Derrick Alfonso is hitting at a .286 clip (6-for-21, 1 RBI).

Although they can't match the batting averages of Louisville's hitters during the past five games, MSU, which has consistently started 3 or 4 freshmen during post-season play along with 3 or 4 seniors and 2 juniors, has several players hitting over the .300 mark. Leading the way is redshirt freshman Russ Sneed at .421 (8-for-19, 7 RBI). Not far behind him is another redshirt freshman, Brandon Turner, who comes in at .391 (9-for-23, 5 RBI). Mitch Moreland is hitting at a .381 clip (8-for-21) and leads the team in RBI with 8 during post-season play. Freshman Connor Powers, in limited play as a DH, is hitting .333 (2-for-6, 3 RBI) while Wyn Diggs, sharing time with him at DH, is hitting .300 (3-for-10, 1 RBI). Joseph McCaskill is one hit away from a .300+ batting average, coming in at .294 (5-for-17, 0 RBI). Another true freshman, Jet Butler is hitting a respectable .278 (5-for-18, 3 RBI). Edward Easley comes in at a .273 clip (6-for-22, 3 RBI) while Jeffrey Rea and Brian LaNinfa brings up the rear at .222 (4-for-18, 0 RBI) and .211 (4-for-19, 1 RBI).

An interesting stat is MSU's freshmen have recorded 18 of the 31 RBI among the 10 players listed above. Add in the fact that Sunday's starting pitcher (Crosswhite) is a redshirt sophomore and 2 of the 4 main relievers are a redshirt freshman (Bowen) and a sophomore (Weatherford). And they are all receiving regional, super regional and College World Series game experience. When you add all of those things together, I think you will agree that next year could be an interesting year for MSU baseball.


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by 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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