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SMITH COLUMN: Pollorena provides MSU what it needs

April 22, 2012

Luis Pollorena found a way to make a difference for the Mississippi State Bulldogs in extra inning games against the Tennessee Volunteers.

After scoring the winning run as a pinch-hitter for MSU in Thursday's 2-1 victory in 11 innings against Tennessee, Pollorena turned out to be the winning pitcher on Saturday as the Bulldogs defeated the Volunteers 3-2 in 14 innings.

Pollorena, the seventh pitcher used by MSU baseball coach John Cohen, worked three scoreless innings and only gave up one hit.

"He just competes and exudes everything you want out of kids on your team," Cohen said.
Teams need people like Pollorena to be successful.

There are players who fill roles that don't necessarily want or need the headlines that contribute in certain areas.

Pollorena, who was a valuable pitcher last year for the Bulldogs, has been used as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement in the outfield at times this season.

Whether it's scoring a key run or getting a timely strikeout, Pollorena just wants the team to be successful.

"This is a team effort no matter what," Pollorena said. "It's not about me, but about everyone on this ballclub. It's anything I can do to help. I'll wear a wig if I have to, getting water for (catcher) Mitch (Slauter), warm up our infielders or whatever I can do to help this team is what I'm here for."

Pollorena was being considered to start Tuesday night's game against Southern Mississippi in Pearl.

Even after throwing 24 pitches on Saturday, he was ready to get back on the mound for some innings against the Golden Eagles.

Cohen wasn't ready to rule that out, but does want to be cautious with his hurlers.

Handling the staff with care is a good idea because right now that's why MSU is winning.

In the three-game sweep of Tennessee, the Bulldogs had an impressive 1.06 earned run average.

It was a much-needed sweep for MSU as it improved its Southeastern Conference record to 8-10.

Bulldog shortstop Adam Frazier had a much better feeling following the series with the Vols than after losing all three games at South Carolina the previous weekend.

"We were able to sweep this week and get back in it," Frazier said. "You've just got to keep it rolling and keep the team's energy going like it is. I feel like we came together as a team more this week than we have all season. If you do that, winning a game is what happens."

The Bulldogs appear to be getting their confidence back and it could be happening at just the right time.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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