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Cohen finding the right recipe at MSU

February 7, 2012

Nick Routt and the Mississippi State baseball team are looking to match last year's success. (Photo by Michael Wardlaw, SDN)

Baseball season is fast approaching as Mississippi State will open their season on February 16 with a three-game series with the Cougars of Washington State. 

Coach John Cohen’s group looks to carry the momentum from their super regional run into this season by using just the right recipe for success.

“I feel like we have the recipe," Cohen said. "I feel like we have some guys with power, some guys that are runners, but more than anything I like the way we defend the field and the way we pitch.

"The strength of our club is the pitching staff. There is great experience there.”

Indeed there is experience and leadership.

Caleb Reed will set the tone for the pitching staff giving Cohen a player to use as the model for how things are to be done at the SEC level.

“We have outstanding leadership on the mound right now,” Cohen said. “It is really the first time since I’ve come back to Starkville that I felt like we had great experience, leadership and the skill level on the mound.”

While Reed headlines the group as State’s closer, he’ll be joined by Chris Stratton, Nick Routt, Ben Bracewell, Louis Pollorena, Evan Mitchell and a host of others who bring Southeastern Conference experience to the table, an important fact when you consider the Bulldogs return only C.T. Bradford and Brent Brownlee as experienced offensive producers.

“I think we have some very good hitters in our program, they are just inexperienced,” Cohen said. “As they grow and get better, I feel like we are going to have the right recipe to have a pretty good team.”

The recipe Cohen continues to refer to is simply based of the statistical data gathered using the past few years worth of College World Series participants. 

“The teams that all end up in Omaha are all good defensive teams,” he said. “I took it one step further when we were looking at this as a staff. Are those teams great defensive teams because they are great defenders or because they good because they get a put out from the mound on a swing and miss? Those two things work together, the pitching and the defense, and I think we can excel in both of those areas.”

In his eyes the game has changed and his current team reflects the look of the new college baseball.

“I think it is going to be much more of a recipe in college baseball," Cohen said. "There was a time in the late 90s, early 2000s where if you didn’t hit 100 home runs, you couldn’t win the College World Series. I just think that now it is much more of a recipe.”

Mississippi State will continue to hold open practices at Dudy Noble field in preparation for their season opener that’s just over a week away. All fans are welcome to attend as the Diamond Dawgs get set for the 2012 season.

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