March 29, 2012

Bulldogs continue to battle through injuries

Two weeks into the Southeastern Conference season and Mississippi State is sitting at 2-4 in league play with two extra inning losses and another by one run.

The Bulldogs have been battling injuries for the past month to some of their key players but continue to fight.

"I love the spirit of our club," said MSU skipper John Cohen. "There's no question we've had some incredible challenges but I like the way our kids have responded. I think it bodes well for the future."

MSU lost sophomores C.T. Bradford (shoulder) and Daryl Norris (knee) in the same Feb. 29 game against Memphis. The Diamond Dogs most experienced player, outfielder Brent Brownlee, has been missing since the second week of the season with a knee injury. Outfielder/ pitcher Taylor Stark went down with a hamstring injury on March 11.

To make matters worse, Friday night starter Ben Bracewell has not pitched since March 2 against Connecticut when he left with tenderness in his right arm. Bracewell missed the entire 2011 season with a torn labrum.

"You want to win down the stretch but you have to win some games to be around during the stretch," Cohen said. "A year from now it will be completely different because we'll have a whole bunch of guys who have experience. But this was that year where we just couldn't afford to have any injuries because of our total lack of experience and the amount of starting guys we lost that were seniors last year."

To fill the void left by those losses, the Diamond Dogs have had no choice but to rely on several freshmen to take up the slack. State even pulled potential redshirts off of outfielder Tyler Fullerton and infielder Phillip Casey to help make ends meet.

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