MSU Baseball Scheduling

Mississippi State Coordinator of Baseball Operations Tyler Bratton talks about the upcoming baseball schedules.

When did you start working on the 2010 baseball schedule?
"I started working on it the 2nd day on the job. I started calling schools that day."

Who does State open with in 2010?
"We have a three-game series with Rhode Island on February 19th through the 21st. They are 35-18 this year and are the number 2 seed in the A-10 Conference Tournament."

In addition to Rhode Island, what other teams did you talk with about the opening day weekend?
"We talked with Big East teams St. John's, Seton Hall, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and West Virginia. We also talked with Marshall University and the University of New Mexico. Others we talked to were Big Ten teams Ohio State, Purdue, Penn State and Northwestern."

What teams will be coming in for the BankFirst Challenge next year?
"We will be playing Southeast Missouri State and Michigan State two games each."

Coach Cohen mentioned in his interview with media that Mississippi State will be playing in a tournament next year. Tell us a little more about that.
"We will be going to Corpus Christi and playing in the Whataburger Tournament on March 12th, 13th and 14th. The other teams in it are UCLA, Oklahoma and Texas A&M at Corpus Christi. We'll play UCLA and Oklahoma once each and Texas A&M Corpus Christi twice."

What mid-week road games do you play next season?
"We play Ole Miss, Southern Miss and Jackson State on the road at Trustmark Park in Pearl and we go to Hattiesburg on May 18th. We are trying to schedule less road mid-week games so our kids won't miss many classes."

Based on what you've said, it sounds like there will only be about nine mid-week games next year with four of those being on road, three at Trustmark Park in Pearl and one in Hattiesburg. This past year there were 17. That is definitely a huge difference.

Switching to weekend games - any changes in the SEC part of the schedule next season?
"The SEC has added Florida to the schedule and dropped Kentucky."

How many home games do you expect to play next season?
"We expect to play 34."

Is 34 about what you want to play at home or do you want to try and schedule even more than that?
"We would really like to get up to 35 or 36 a year. We have such tremendous fans here we want to schedule as many as possible for them."

The NCAA has added a week to the schedule starting next year. It's gone from 13 to 14 weeks. How will that affect mid-week games?
"We want to play less mid-week games and more weekend games. The additional week in the schedule will allow us to do that. And another thing that will affect mid-week games is we are trying to have more four-game weekend series, especially early in the season. When we have a four-game series we will play one game Friday, a double-header Saturday and a single game on Sunday."

The Saturday double-headers will be great because Mississippi State fans always came out in huge numbers for the SEC Saturday double-headers.
"We think our fans will really like the double-headers. We want to do those as much as we possibly can."

How far in advance do you try to work on schedules?
"We try to work two years in advance."

What teams do you have coming in new to the schedule in 2011?
"We will play the University of Washington in a four-game series February 25th through 27th at home. We will also play a home four-game series against the University of Maine on March 11th through 13th. That's the weekend prior to the SEC schedule starting.

"Although it hasn't been finalized, we are also talking with USC about coming here on February 18th through the 20th for a three or four-game series."

What about the weekend of March 6-8?
"We are talking with Liberty, Lipscomb and High Point about that weekend. Two of those three teams are likely to be in. That will also be a home series more along the lines of a tournament format."

Washington, Maine and Southern Cal are some big names in the baseball world.
"We want to bring in as many teams like that as we possibly can. Coach (Cohen) wants us to do that. It'll help our RPI and our NCAA postseason possibilities."

How did the Southern Cal talks initiate
"(USC head) Coach (Chad) Kreuter called us to see if we would be interested in having them come play us in Starkville."

Did he say why he wanted his team to come to Starkville?
"He and (former MSU baseball player) Rafael Palmeiro are good friends from their Major League Baseball days. Palmeiro raved about the atmosphere at Dudy Noble Field because he said it's unlike any atmosphere anywhere in college baseball. He told Coach Kreuter that he needed to bring his team to Starkville and experience it. And Coach Kreuter called us."

Will there be any return trips with any of these teams?
"We may go to USC but it's not scheduled right now. Washington is trying to get us to come out there in 2012 but I'm not sure if that will happen. The only way we will do it is if it's played at Safeco Field, the Seattle Mariners baseball stadium."

Any other named schools call you about playing Mississippi State in the next couple of years?
"Washington State University called to see if we could play them in 2011 but we can't due to already having Washington on the schedule. The University of Oregon called us a couple of times but nothing is set with them. That's a possibility down the road."


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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