Baseball: Vanderbilt hosts Mississippi State

Two struggling teams that hope to make it to the SEC Tournament meet this weekend at Hawkins Field. Vanderbilt will host Mississippi State in a crucial series for both teams.

Vanderbilt (24-17, 7-10 SEC)
vs. Mississippi State (21-21, 6-12 SEC)

Friday, April 24 H 6 p.m.
Saturday, April 25 H 1 p.m.
Sunday, April 26 H 1 p.m.

Broadcast: 560 AM WNSR.

Venue: Hawkins Field (3,700); Nashville, Tenn.

Series History vs. Mississippi State
Mississippi State leads 61-31 in a series that dates back to 1913. The Commodores swept last season's series in Starkville and have won the last four games overall. MSU owns a 25-14 all-time lead in games
played in Nashville.
The Coaches
VU's Tim Corbin is 263-147 in his seventh season in Nashville. He is 369-285 in 13 seasons overall. He is 9-4 against the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State's John Cohen is 21-21 in his first season as head coach at his alma mater. He is 342-217 in his 10th season as a head coach. He is 6-9 against the Commodores.
Tentative Pitching Matchups
VU Jr. LHP Mike Minor (3-3, 3.15 ERA) VS. MSU So. LHP Forrest Moore (2-0, 4.28 ERA)

VU So. RHP Caleb Cotham (5-4, 4.91 ERA) VS. MSU Fr. LHP Nick Routt (4-2, 3.06 ERA)
VU Jr. RHP Drew Hayes (3-2, 4.44 ERA) VS. MSU So. LHP Tyler Whitney (2-3, 4.29 ERA)

Scouting Mississippi State
Mississippi State is 21-21 overall and 6-12 in SEC play after dropping two of three to Kentucky at home last weekend in Starkville. The Bulldogs split a pair of contests against Middle Tennessee in midweek play, falling 10-6 on Tuesday before rebounding with a 9-8 win on Wednesday. Head coach John Cohen is in his first season running the baseball program at his alma mater after five successful seasons at Kentucky. He led the Wildcats to the 2006 SEC regular season championship and two NCAA tournament appearances before returning to Starkville last summer. Cohen takes over a team that went 23-33 last season with a 12th place finish in leagueaction (9-21 record).
Third baseman Russ Sneed leads the team with a .357 batting average to go with eight homers and 36 RBI. Centerfielder Grant Hogue provides the speed with 27 stolen bases in 31 attempts to go with a .339 batting average. First baseman Connor Powers is the top power source with 13 homers and 13 doubles to go with a .300 batting average and 46 RBI. As a team, State is hitting at a .298 clip with 42 homers and 279 runs scored (6.6 per game).
The Bulldogs are changing up their weekend rotation this week with a trio of southpaws starting in Nashville. Forrest Moore (2-0, 4.28 ERA) will get the start Friday night, with Tyler Whitney (2-3, 4.29 ERA) going on Saturday and Nick Routt (4-2, 3.06 ERA) getting the start on Sunday. MSU has a 5.97 team ERA, highest in the SEC, with 297 strikeouts and 193 walks in 361.2 innings pitched.

Scouting Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt defeated Louisville, 4-3, on Wednesday after falling 9-8 to Austin Peay on Tuesday night. Vanderbilt went 2-3 last week with a pair of midweek wins and a three-game series sweep at the hands of Alabama over the weekend. It was the first time the Commodores were swept in Nashville since Florida did it at the end of the 2005 season to capture the Southeastern Conference regular season title. It was also the first time Alabama swept the series in Nashville since the 2000 campaign… On the week, VU hit .311 as a team with three homers, 11 doubles, a triple and 36 runs in five games … Brian Harris broke out of an offensive slump that lowered his batting average to under .300 with a 7-for-16 (.438) week with four doubles, a homer and four RBI … Joe Loftus also had a nice week going 9-for-21 with three doubles, five runs and three RBI … Andrew Giobbi went 9-for-24 (.375) with two homers, a double and six RBI as the leadoff hitter. He has boosted his average to .303 on the season … Riley Reynolds went 6-for 14 with a double, four RBI and four runs scored. His hitting streak reached 19 games before ending in the first game of the doubleheader against the Crimson Tide on Saturday … Alex McClure went 4-for-9 (.444) in a limited role that saw him make his first ever start in right field in the second game of the doubleheader on Saturday … The pitching staff had a strong week strikeout wise with 65 K's and 17 walks in 45.0 innings. They held Alabama, the league's top hitting team (.345 entering the weekend), to just a .283 average with 41 strikeouts and 10 walks in 27.0 innings. The big blows were eight homers given up in the three-game set and nine for the week … Drew Hayes had a big week with two solid starting outings. He started and went five innings in a 8-0 shutout over Morehead State in midweek. He struck out six, allowed just three hits with two walks. He then held Bama in check for 4.2 innings allowing three runs on four hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. He was 1-0 on the week with 13 strikeouts and three walks in 9.2 innings of work … Nick Christiani (2.0), Chase Reid (1.0) and Russell Brewer (1.0) combined with Hayes on the shutout … Sean Bierman had a solid week, allowing one run on three hits in 7.2 innings of relief with eight strikeouts and a walk. He pitched 4.2 innings of two-hit scoreless relief against Alabama in the first game of the doubleheader and struck out four with no walks … Russell Brewer pitched 4.1 innings of scoreless relief in two outings with seven strikeouts and just one walk. He pitched 3.1 innings of two-hit shutout relief against Alabama in the second game of the doubleheader on Saturday … Mike Minor had his shortest outing dating back to the season opener with six innings of work in Friday night's opener. He allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits with 11 strikeouts and two walks in the no-decision.


Commodores Daily Top Stories