STARKVILLE — After sweeping Kentucky last weekend, Mississippi State baseball moved up to No. 5 nationally in the D1Baseball.com rankings.
The Bulldogs will try to keep their momentum going with a midweek contest against Southern Tuesday and a road series against Auburn this weekend.
There may not have been anyone more excited about the sweep of the Wildcats than outfielder Rowdey Jordan, who saw his season batting average rise .24 points to .257 after collecting five hits, including a three-hit effort in a win Friday.
“He had some good swings (this weekend),” MSU coach Chris Lemonis said. “I feel like he’s kind of turning the corner a little bit. Sometimes it’s just the game play, you ride it a little bit. I remember a couple years ago when he got going, he flared a ball in against Samford, next thing you know he took off. We need him. He’s one of the better offensive players out there and when he’s going, he can help us out a lot.”
Fristoe morphing into ‘one of the better Sunday starters out there’
Making his second weekend start in Southeastern Conference play, Jackson Fristoe, a Paducah, Kentucky native, picked up the win against a Kentucky team he was formally committed to Saturday, throwing five innings of two-run ball with eight strikeouts. On the season, Fristoe has 43 strikeouts in 29.2 innings of work and has pitched to a 3.34 ERA.
“I think we’re starting to see a more complete pitcher every week and he’s been able to hold his stuff,” Lemonis said. “With him and Will (Bednar) and Christian (MacLeod), they all pitched on one less day of rest this week, I felt like all their stuff was still there, which was nice to see … His stuff is really good and he’s ultra-competitive. For a freshman, he just doesn’t pitch like one. He holds the running game, he pounds the zone for the most part.”
Hatcher trying to remedy offensive struggles
Josh Hatcher is mired in a slump, going 0 for 12 in the series against Kentucky and carrying a batting average that sits at exactly .200 this season. He’s also struck out in 20 percent of his at-bats this spring.
“He is just trying to do a little too much,” Lemonis said. “All year long he’s been (hitting balls hard). Last year he was one of our top hitters. You try to do a little bit too much and you end up missing a little bit. I pulled him aside after Friday’s game and spoke to him. I thought he let the slump get to him a little bit. The last two days he has played with great energy. He has been a great teammate. He is making plays. He is hitting balls hard and getting no luck, which is the way this (game) goes … He is a very talented kid so we just hope he will get going.”
Self to miss remainder of 2021 season
Lemonis confirmed unfortunate news Saturday: the Bulldogs will be without the services of right-handed pitcher Riley Self for the duration of this season.
“We’re not sure of all the details yet, but he hurt his elbow last weekend, and he’ll be out for the season. He’s going to help me coach a little bit. He’s always telling me what to do anyways, so it’ll be nice that he can be officially helping me out.”
Self pitched five innings and struck out seven batters and allowed three runs across seven appearances.
“It was really tough last weekend,” Lemonis said of the news. “He’s such a passionate kid. He is such a great teammate on this ballclub, and he loves Mississippi State. It’s in his blood and he has so much pride in this program. He’s still going to be around and be a part, just not pitching. Hopefully he’s with us all the way out and we can help him rehab back from this injury.”
NCAA to have predetermined Regional and Super Regional sites?
According to a report from D1Baseball.com’s Kendall Rogers on Monday, the NCAA will have predetermined Regional and Super Regional sites in this year’s postseason. The sites for both rounds will be announced the week of May 10, and bids must be submitted by April 12.
MacLeod named SEC Pitcher of the Week
MSU ace Christian MacLeod was named the SEC Pitcher of the Week, the conference announced Monday. MacLeod, the second MSU player to earn that honor this season, struck out 11 batters in six innings in a victory over Kentucky Thursday. He only allowed two hits and didn’t walk a batter, retiring 18 of 20 batters faced on a career-high 95 pitches.