Like a freshman in the dorms, John Cohen makes some of his worst decisions on Friday nights.
Kendall Graveman had a pretty good start in Game 2 as held the Gamecocks back until the 5th inning when they scored a couple of runs to take a 2-0 lead. He got to the 7th inning before being lifted in favor of Ross Mitchell.
MSU scored their first run when C.T. Bradford struck out with the bases loaded but there was a wild pitch and Frazier scored. In the 7th inning State took a 3-2 lead on a 2-run single by Pirtle.
Hunter Renfroe had several chances to break the game open but he has slipped into a funk of late. In the last four games he is 1 for 16 and has left 24 men on base. Yikes.
Cohen's tendency to mismanage the bullpen reared its ugly head again, however, in the 8th inning. Like the Friday night game vs. LSU and the Friday night gave vs. Arkansas some very questionable decisions were made.
After only 0.2 innings, Cohen lifts one of our best pitchers in Ben Bracewell with one out and one on in favor of bringing C.T. Bradford in to face the lefty. Bradford gives up a single and his replacement in CF, Jacob Robson, misplays the ball allowing the lead runner to get to 3rd base.
Ok, if you just have to bring in a lefty to face a lefty then why wouldn't you bring in your left-handed RELIEF PITCHER (Girodo) who has pitched 29 innings this year with a 1.24 ERA instead of your left-handed CENTER FIELDER (Bradford) who has just 4.1 innings under his belt this year?
But what Cohen should have done is bring in your closer to CUT 'EM DOWN. You could say maybe Holder could only go one inning since he pitched in Game 1 but he enters the game after Bradford faces one batter.
Bringing Bradford in the game also cost MSU the DH for the rest of the game. And while Holder was able to get two strike outs to end the inning he did throw a wild pitch with the runner on third which scored the tying run.
In the 10th inning, Cohen brought Bradford back in to pitch and he got a couple of outs. At this point, C.T. wasn't a bad option because R. Mitchell, Bracewell, Holder and Girodo had all been used. Bradford walked the third hitter in the inning and he was lifted. I don't have a problem with pulling him here, but just go to the right guy.
With Trevor Fitts, Will Cox and Myles Gentry in the pen, Cohen goes to Daryl Norris. While Norris has been thought to be a potentially solid pitcher for MSU the last few years, he JUST MADE HIS FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE YEAR THREE DAYS AGO VS. ORAL ROBERTS. This is not the time to put him in the game. He can work on his pitching in the offseason and come back next year ready to contribute - not now. HOSTING A REGIONAL IS ON THE LINE. WE ARE FACING THE BEST COLLEGE BASEBALL PROGRAM IN THE COUNTRY. WHY IS DARYL NORRIS PITCHING?
Norris promptly groves one on his first pitch and it is deposited into the Left Field Lounge. 5-3 South Carolina.
Game 3 is on Saturday afternoon. Need to win.