When looking at the final stats, especially the newcomers' stats, don't forget that the remainder of the fall has the coaches working one on one with the individual players. The fall scrimmages are primarily used by the coaches to focus in on aspects of the individual player's game that needs to be worked on, but the newcomers will benefit the most from the individual attention.
Now that we have that out of the way, here is my run down of the fall practices by hitters, pitchers and positions. I've also included my guess as to what the starting lineup would be at the end of the fall (pitching rotation and relief pitching included) and the complete stats (hitting and pitching only) for the scrimmages that we attended.
As is to be expected several veteran pitchers led the way, including junior Aaron Weatherford, senior Justin Pigott, sophomores Ricky Bowen and Tyler Whitney and senior Jesse Carver.
Weatherford, who topped out at 97 miles per hour numerous times while being used exclusively in relief, struck out more than 2 batters per inning. His numbers were 27 strikeouts in 13 innings. He gave up 6 hits and 5 walks. His ERA was 1.38 while batters hit .154 against him.
Pigott, after a so-so junior season, came back strong during the fall posting a 1.57 earned run average. In 23 innings of work, he gave up just 12 hits while walking 6. His strikeout total was 27. Batters hit .173 against him.
Bowen picked up where he left off last season by recording a 2.61 ERA. In 20.7 innings of work, he struck out 20 while giving up 12 hits and 8 walks.
Whitney also did well after having a nice freshman campaign. Recording a 3.15 ERA, Tyler gave up 24 hits in 25.7 innings of work. He struck out 25 while walking 16.
Possibly the pitching surprise of the fall was Carver. Jesse, who has always had the stuff, seem to come into his own this fall, striking out 39 in 23 innings while recording a 3.13 ERA. He walked 14 while giving up 19 hits.
Veteran John Lalor was used during the latter half of the fall and recording a 3.00 ERA in 6 innings of work.
Another veteran, Chad Crosswhite, pitched about half the fall while still recovering from an injury he suffered against Clemson during the Super Regional. Chad, who wound up with a 7.55 ERA in 14.3 innings, did well during the early part of his fall practice, but had a couple of bad outings (including a 9-run, 4.3-inning outing) that shot up his ERA. Until those outings, his ERA was in the 1.00 range.
Jared Wesson, who sat out last season while recovering from shoulder surgery, looked very impressive during his few outings. In limited action (4.3 innings of work), he struck out 7 while giving up no hits and walking 3.
Also expected was the overall performances of the newcomers. In 111.3 innings of work, the freshmen and junior college pitching signees had a 7.92 ERA. Welcome to the SEC fellows!
Guess who led the Bulldogs in hitting this fall? Yep, none other than sophomore Brandon Turner who comes in at a .414 clip after also leading the Bulldogs in hitting last spring with a .399 clip.
Coming in second is another sophomore - Connor Powers. Powers, who had a great freshman campaign until he tailed off near the end due to the long college season, hit a robust .406. A nice improvement was his lack of strikeouts, something that he had trouble with last season (56 in 225 at-bats). In 40 at-bats he struck out just 7 times.
Sophomore-to-be Russ Sneed, who came on strong during the latter part of the 2007 season, had an excellent fall, hitting .389. Russ led the 'Dogs in runs (13), hits (14) and doubles (4) during the fall.
Walk-on juco transfer outfielder Sean Johnson followed Russ with a .361 batting average. Sean, who played at Senatobia HS and Northwest Miss. CC, knocked in 10 runs on 13 hits.
For those of you who wondered how well Southern Miss transfer Luke Adkins did during the fall, suffice it to say he had an excellent fall, hitting .343 with 3 home runs while knocking in 6 runs in 35 at-bats. He also walked 13 times while striking out just 4 times. The four strikeouts was the lowest among all hitters with 15 or more at-bats, while his 13 walks was the most by any hitter.
Another juco walk-on, catcher-outfielder Johnny Allen, was also very impressive, clubbing 3 home runs, 2 doubles and 2 triples while hitting .343 in 35 at-bats. The 6-3, 228-pounder played his junior college ball at Pearl River CC and his high school ball at Grenada HS.
True freshman walk-on Wes Wilson (6-1, 195), a catcher/outfielder who hails from Bryan State HS in Lexington, KY, hit the ball at a .333 clip.
Other players who hit .300 or better are Grant Hogue (.314), true freshman outfielder Ryan Collins (.310) and Mark Goforth (.300).
Leading the 'Dogs in RBI was sophomore catcher Ryan Duffy with 14. He also tied for the team lead with 4 doubles and was second with 2 home runs.
Primary position - Tyler Moore, Forrest Moore. Secondary position - Connor Powers, Jeff Flagg, Cade Hoggard.
Primary position - Brandon Turner, Will Coggin, Blake Bugg. Secondary Position - Ryan Rubino, Paxton Pace, Nick Popescu, Ryan Powers.
Primary position - Russ Sneed, Connor Powers, Bobby Triglia. Secondary position - Jet Butler, Jason Nappi.
Primary position - Ryan Powers, Jet Butler, Ryan Rubino, Nick Popescu. Secondary position - Russ Sneed, Michael Busby, Blake Bugg.
Primary position - Brooks Lewis, Ryan Duffy, Scott Deloach, Donny Stephens, Cody Freeman, Johnny Allen, Brent Tanner, Logan Moro and Wes Wilson. Secondary position - Bobby Triglia.
Primary position - Nick Hardy, Jason Nappi, Leon Farmer, Johnny Allen, Luke Adkins.
Primary position - Grant Hogue, Mark Goforth, Brent Brownlee, Wes Wilson.
Primary position - Andy Rice, Cade Hoggard, Jeff Flagg, Ryan Collins, Sean Johnson.
Just for fun here is my projected starting lineup at the end of fall practice (Classification - RS-Means he has been redshirted during his career: Bats - R or L: Throws - RHP or LHP):
Others that will factor into the starting unit are Jason Nappi (LF/RF, very good RBI producer, gap hitter, needs to cut down on the strikeouts) and Cody Freeman (OF/C, great potential power and great bat speed).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.