Blog – Baseball notes: UVA, Graveman, draft, Holder, Henderson (with video)

The No. 14 (Collegiate Baseball) Mississippi State Bulldogs (46-18) will face the No. 6 Virginia Cavaliers (50-10) this weekend in the Charlottesville Super Regional.

Game times are set for Saturday at noon on ESPN2, Sunday at 6 p.m. on ESPNU and Monday’s if necessary game will start at 3 p.m. on ESPN2 (all times central).

Mississippi State head coach John Cohen and several players met with the media Wednesday to discuss the upcoming super regional.

“The more you look at Virginia, the more you realize they’re a great club,” Cohen said. “They have the flexibility to be lefthanded and righthanded against you, they started five lefthanded hitters against the righthanded pitcher from Army. So just watching them on film they’re a great club, they don’t make mistakes. They’re very good at home. And it will be a great challenge to our club, but certainly it’s something that we’re looking forward too.”

The Bulldogs are playing in their fifth super regional and their first since the 2011 Gainesville Super Regional.

Several of the Bulldogs that played in the 2011 Gainesville Super Regional, including junior outfielder C.T. Bradford, are on this year’s team.

“Just the experience,” Bradford said. “Showing up to the ballpark and understanding you could get to the College World Series in two games. All the guys that were there, I think are going to do a good job of taking care of the younger guys and showing them that we are really close and all we have to do is play good baseball.”

Graveman likely to start game one

MSU senior right hander Kendall Graveman has proven that he has been the most consistent starter for the Bulldogs this season.

Although Cohen wasn’t ready to name a starter for game one, he did hint that Graveman will more than likely get the ball.

“I’m not ready to commit to that, but I’m anticipating Kendall will start game-one,” Cohen said. “Just looking at the matchup and on film, I would anticipate it would be Kendall. But we’re not going to pull the trigger on that quite yet because we don’t have to. But that is probably the direction we go.”

Graveman is 6-5 this season with a 2.94 earned run average. He got the ball in game one against Central Arkansas in the Starkville Regional. He pitched 6 1/3 innings giving up just two runs on four hits. He struck out five and walked just two.

MLB draft set for tomorrow

The Bulldogs have several players that will see their names called throughout the draft.

MSU junior outfielder Hunter Renfroe’s name will more than likely be called in the first round. According to Bleacher Report, the San Diego Padres are expected to take the Crystal Springs native with the 13th overall pick.

“The draft’s weird,” Renfroe said. “You don’t know anything for sure, nothing’s set in stone. You could be hearing somebody wants you in the third round, somebody could want you with the 13th pick or 12th pick, who knows.”

MSU sophomore Wes Rea hopes the best for his best friend and his roommate.

“I’m with him all day every day,” Rea said. “We ride to the field together and we’re at my house together every day. I hear all the phone calls and I see who he talks to every day. It’s crazy. It’s an unbelievable process, but he’s handled well.

“(Today) is going to be special for him. He’s deserved hit, he’s the greatest guy I’ve ever had the privilege of playing baseball with and being my roommate the past years have been unbelievable too.”

The Bulldogs have other hopefuls for this year’s draft.

Junior shortstop Adam Frazier’s name has come up in connection with the draft. Frazier was not drafted out of high school, but in his three seasons with MSU, he has proven he can play at the next level.

The Bishop, Ga. native will have a big decision to make whether he wants to come back to MSU or start his professional career.

Senior right hander Kendall Graveman was drafted last year in the 36th round by the Florida Marlins. He is expected to see his name come up.

Junior righty Evan Mitchell has not lived up to expectations this season, but will more than likely be drafted this go around.

Several other Bulldogs may be drafted as well.

Holder finalists for Stopper of the Year Award

Mississippi State sophomore closer Jonathan Holder has been named one of five finalists for the NCBWA’s ninth annual Stopper of the Year Award, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association announced Wednesday.

The Biloxi, Miss., (Gulfport High School) product, a first-team 2013 Louisville Slugger All-American selection by Collegiate Baseball and a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection, sports a 2-0 record and 1.17 earned run average with a SEC co-leading and school-record 17 saves. He’s allowed six earned runs with a staff-most 81 strikeouts in 46.0 innings pitched.   

The finalists for the award also include NCAA saves leader Tyler Rogers of Austin Peay, David Berg of UCLA, Michael Lorenzen of Cal State Fullerton, and Jimmie Sherfy of Oregon.

The NCBWA’s All-America Committee will select this year’s recipient with the winner announced June 15 in Omaha, Neb., in a 10 a.m. press conference at TD Ameritrade Park, the site of the NCAA College World Series. More than 90 of the nation’s top collegiate relief pitchers were included in the select ion process of this year’s Stopper of the Year Award.

Henderson coming into his own

MSU junior outfielder Demarcus Henderson started all four games in the Starkville Regional. He picked up hits in three of the games and had four overall.

The Bulldogs faced nothing by right handed pitchers over the weekend, but the right handed hitting Henderson was in the lineup every night.

“I just sit over there, whenever my name is called, I come in and try to do my best,” Henderson said.

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