March 27, 2009
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State junior second baseman Jet Butler said one thing has given the Bulldogs problems on the road.
"We haven''t been able to execute our game plans, but we''ll get better," Butler said. "We''ll keep scratching and clawing."
MSU faces another road challenge this weekend when it travels to Arkansas for a series of games at 6:30 p.m. today, 2 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday.
The Bulldogs (14-10, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) haven''t had the kind of start they wanted in coach John Cohen''s first year, mainly due to a 1-8 record in road and neutral-site games.
MSU was competitive in last weekend''s SEC series at Georgia, but was swept by the nation''s top-ranked team (5-3, 4-0, and 10-6).
"You learn from tough losses just like you learn from close wins," Butler said. "Hopefully, we can put those tough losses behind us, move forward, and get big wins now."
It won''t be easy against the Razorbacks (17-4, 6-0), who beat Missouri State 10-0 at home Wednesday.
Arkansas, which is 14-3 at Baum Stadium, is ranked ninth in the latest Collegiate Baseball poll.
Baum Stadium has a seating capacity of more than 10,000, and Cohen expects it to be more than half filled when the Bulldogs and Razorbacks get together.
"They are a lot like other teams in our league," Cohen said. "At home, they are very good. There aren''t a lot of teams in our league that are not good at home. They will have six to seven thousand people screaming their heads off, and it will be a tough environment for us."
Butler, who leads MSU with a .382 batting average and 23 RBIs, said Arkansas is a fun place to play, but he hopes the Bulldogs execute well enough to make it an even more enjoyable experience.
Cohen has been disappointed with his team''s inconsistency. He wasn''t pleased with MSU''s performance Wednesday in a 6-3 victory against Memphis.
"We just didn''t play very well," Cohen said. "If we don''t get better, we''re going to get smacked around in this league. The only thing you can do is walk through the process. We''ve walked through it and walked through it, talked about it and talked about it. It''s not where we want it to be. You''ve got to find people that will have a great approach."
Left-hander Tyler Whitney (2-1, 2.82 ERA) will start game one for the Bulldogs, while left-hander Nick Routt (2-1, 2.56) is the projected starter in game two. Sunday''s starter has yet to be determined.
1. MSU vs. Southern Mississippi: Five Things to Watch COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Clark helps MSU's operations running smoothly COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Oak HIll Academy looks to stop skid in series with Heritage Academy HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Game of Week: Starkville, West Point renew HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. New Hope looks for continued improvement against Columbus HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS