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MSU Dominates UGA in Series Opener

A seven run inning in the bottom of the fourth led to an MSU win.

This was actually a competitive game except for the fourth inning.  That being said, when you score seven runs in one inning, you can usually get away with not scoring much for the rest of the game.  Tonight was a good win, but tomorrow will be more difficult.  A few thoughts are below.

  • As usual, Hudson was great.  He did a good job of relying heavily on his fastball the first time through the order.  It paid off later when Hudson started throwing more breaking pitches, and their hitters hadn't seen many of those in their first at bat.
  • Kevin Smith (UGA's starting pitcher, not the guy who made Clerks), has a similar delivery to Alex Wood, who currently pitches for the Dodgers.  That is more of a random observation than a judgement of him.  He had the lowest ERA by far on UGA's team coming into this series (1.93), but he probably isn't their best starting pitcher.  Smith did look impressive the first time through the order.  The coaches must have caught on to something Smith was doing wrong, such as tipping his pitches, because everything went downhill really quickly in the fourth.  The fact that MSU has some many right handed and switch hitters didn't help him out either.  Even Robson, one of the two starters who hits left handed, has hit left handed pitchers well.
  • I thought Rooker might have a big night with the way he has hit left handers.  Unfortunately he went 0 for 4.  That's baseball.
  • Humphreys did have a big night, hitting two home runs and a double, and not striking out.  He has already gotten robbed of at least two or three home runs this year, and I thought he might get robbed on his first home run.  By the way, that home run was on an 0-2 count.  His first at bat was also impressive.  He hit an outside fastball into the right-center field gap for a double.
  • Stricklin (UGA's coach not our AD) certainly didn't have a short leash with his starter.  Nobody wants to go to the bullpen early in the series opener, but letting your starter give up eight runs before pulling him is extremely patient.  Albright was their MVP tonight because he was able to pitch the rest of the game and save their bullpen.
  • Michael Curry, their catcher, has an incredible throwing arm.  His batting average is a little low, but he gets walks and has showed some power.  He should go high in the MLB draft at some point.
  • I was surprised Cohen used Tatum with an eight run lead.  He only threw 18 pitches, so he could still pitch later in the series if necessary.
  • Ethan Small is going to be outstanding.  I don't know how good his competition was in high school, but he struck out 99 hitters in 50 and 2/3rds innings.  I know his ERA is in the double digits right now, but my expectations are high.
Tomorrow looks like the most difficult game of the series.  Robert Tyler is probably their best pitcher, and he is starting against Sexton.  Except for the amount of extra base hits Sexton has given up, Sexton has pitched well this year.  Of course, giving up extra base hits is a big deal.  Hopefully we don't get a repeat of the Vandy game last Saturday where Sexton pitches well, but Cohen leaves him in too long (four times through the heart of Vandy's lineup).  Most, if not all, of the bullpen is available tomorrow, which is also the case for UGA.