College baseball coaches were given ample time to transition to the new BBCOR bats that were introduced to the game in 2011.
The new BBCOR bats reduced offensive numbers around the game, but Mississippi State head coach John Cohen had time to get his roster to a place where the new bat did not affect his team’s abilities on the diamond. The Bulldogs made a super regional in 2011, won the Southeastern Conference Tournament in 2012, made it all the way to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., in 2013 where they finished as the national runner-up and were one win away from a super regional last season.
New balls were introduced to the game this year with a flat seam in order to boost offensive production.
“Overnight, we used a new baseball,” Cohen said at his wrap-up press conference on Tuesday. “There was no transition, no nothing. It was just some coaches got together in this country and decided we needed a new baseball and we got a new baseball.
“We were not out in front of (the new baseballs). We felt like we were out in front of the bat situation.”
An NCAA study revealed that the flat-seamed ball travels an average of 20 feet longer out of a pitching machine set to simulate typical home run conditions than the raised-seam ball.
The Bulldogs finished under .500 this season (24-30) and finished last in the SEC with a record of 8-22.
As a pitching staff this season, MSU had a team earned run average of 4.51, allowing 242 earned runs in 482 2/3 innings pitched. The team ERA was the highest for Cohen and the Bulldogs since a 6.87 ERA in 2010.
During the postseason runs from 2011-14, MSU never had an ERA higher than 4.40 and the lowest was 2.58 in 2012.
“I think it affected us a little bit differently than other people because the nature our ballpark plays,” Cohen said. “Everybody on our team who is successful is a sinker-oriented type of pitcher. Sinker guys are about the amount of friction you can create on seams, and when the seams are lowered, it’s going to affect everybody.”
ERAs by seasons:
2015 – 4.51
2014 – 3.06
2013 – 2.79
2012 – 2.58
2011 – 4.39
2010 – 6.87