What UVA Baseball fans need to know about Mississippi State
The Bulldogs live up to the nickname at the plate, striking out an SEC-low 398 times this season, 6.4 times a game.
For comparison, Tennessee, which struck out 13 times in a 6-0 loss to Virginia on Sunday, has struck out an SEC-high 570 times this season, 8.5 per game.
Like Tennessee, Mississippi State has some boppers – five guys in double-digits in homers.
I’m anticipating Christian MacLeod (6-5, 4.24 ERA, 113K/29BB in 80.2 IP, .234 opponent batting average) getting the ball to start Tuesday night.
MacLeod, a 6’4” lefty, has been struggling a bit of late – with a 9.20 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in his last three starts.
MacLeod is a top 100 MLB Draft prospect, with a fastball that touches 93, but is consistently upper 80s to around 90.
His best pitch is a plus curveball in the upper 70s and an effective changeup that both play off the fastball in a way that might remind you of UVA ace Andrew Abbott.
The closer is Landon Sims (4-0, 11 saves, 1.64 ERA, 91K/14BB in 49.1 IP, .161 opponent BA), a 6’2” sophomore righthander who has seen action in four of MSU’s seven games in the NCAA Tournament to this stage.
Others to watch for:
- 6’3” sophomore righthander Preston Johnson (3-0, 4.44 ERA, 38K/11BB in 24.1 IP, .218 opponent BA), who has been used in three NCAA Tournament games.
- 6’3” sophomore righthander Stone Simmons (1-1, 4.56 ERA, 29K/8BB in 23.2 IP, .222 opponent BA), who has two appearances this postseason.
- 6’1” senior lefty Houston Harding (7-2, 2.87 ERA, 59K/17BB in 53.1 IP, .221 opponent BA), who has a start and a relief appearance in the postseason.
- 5’9” senior righty Chase Patrick (0-0, 2.13 ERA, 9K/5BB in 12.2 IP, .267 opponent BA), who has one NCAA Tournament appearance this season.
If the game goes squirrely (i.e. Mississippi State falls way behind in the middle innings), you may see either or both of two righthanders, Brandon Smith (4-3, 4.29 ERA, 39K/10BB in 39.2 IP, .250 opponent BA) or Cade Smith (2-0, 3.18 ERA, 15K/6BB in 11.1 IP, .146 opponent BA).
The Bulldogs slash .280/.376/.446 and average 7.0 runs per game, and they like to run – with 69 steals in 87 attempts.
The foundation piece is lefthanded-hitting rightfielder Tanner Allen (.386/.457/.623, 10 HR, 62 RBI, 9-of-12 SB/SBA), a top 150 MLB Draft prospect.
Others to watch for:
- switch-hitting centerfielder Rowdey Jordan (.329/.429/.571, 10 HR, 43 RBI, 9-of-10 SB/SBA)
- catcher Logan Tanner (.279/.370/.518, 14 HR, 47 RBI)
- third baseman Kamren James (.279/.362/.478, 11 HR, 58 RBI, 19-of-22 SB/SBA)
- first baseman Luke Hancock (.258/.388/.418, 10 HR, 59 RBI)
Story by Chris Graham