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Bulldogs learning as wins pile up in baseball

March 1, 2013

MSU's Sam Frost had four runs batted in, including a two-run triple, during Wednesday's win over Rhode Island. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

The Mississippi State Bulldogs are winning baseball games and learning more about themselves also with each game.

MSU, which is No. 9 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, used 22 different players, including pitchers, during Wednesday's 17-5 victory over Rhode Island and the competition seems to be heating up at several different positions.

As the Southeastern Conference schedule nears in a couple of more weeks, coach John Cohen is getting a good look at the Bulldogs.

Daryl Norris, Matthew Britton, Kyle Hann and Sam Frost were all in the infield mix for MSU during the second game against Rhode Island.

"Matthew Britton has all of a sudden put together some really good swings," Cohen said. "Sammy (Frost) has come in to play well defensively and has taken some good swings. We have some great competition going on at many spots.

"We progressed and got a lot of people involved, but there are some things we still need to improve upon before we get to conference play."

Frost knows to be able to seize the most playing time on the team, there's going to have to be hard work put in during the process.

"We've got a lot of talent out here," Frost said. "Coach (Nick) Mingione talks about us having 18 position players and only nine players get to play, so everyone is eager and waiting for an opportunity and we're giving it everything we've got in practice."

The Bulldogs (11-0) get back on the field of play today to begin a four-game series with Saint Joseph's. The scheduled series has been shuffled around because of the anticipation of freezing temperatures and possible wintery precipitation on Saturday.

Today's first game was moved up to 4 p.m. early in the week, but there will now be only one Saturday game starting at noon with a Sunday doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.

MSU's Jacob Lindgren (1-0, 1.59 ERA) is still expected to get the nod on the mound for the first game, but there will be plenty of opportunities for other pitchers to be used during the course of the weekend.

Cohen believes the bullpen is still in good shape for the weekend.

"Everyone will be available (today) out of the bullpen," Cohen said. "One of the positives is we didn't have to use (Jonathan) Holder in either one of these games (against Rhode Island)."

Lindgren, Evan Mitchell, Kendall Graveman and Will Cox are the Bulldog hurlers that seem to have the inside track to weekend rotation spots.

Cohen is anxious to see them perform and see who else is waiting in the wings.

"You put four guys out there and we still have guys competing for weekend spots," Cohen said. "You have a Tuesday game for a guy to compete for a weekend spot. We need for some guys to go out and have better starts than they did last weekend. I think those guys are chomping at the bit."

Because of the expected cold weather, it is not clear if Wes Rea or Hunter Renfroe will be available for MSU. They have been recovering from injuries and Cohen might wait for warmer weather to put them back on the field.

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