Friday, April 24, 2009

Whale of a win

by Barca Blog - Mississippi State head coach John Cohen rolled the dice by going with his No. 3 starter, Forrest Moore, Friday night at Vanderbilt. In order to capture the series, Cohen weighed the risk of losing the opener by placing the odds on his top two starters in the matchups on Saturday and Sunday.

Well, the Commodores took advantage of the situation in a hurry. Moore didn’t even make it out of the second inning as the ‘Dores pounced on the sophomore lefty for seven runs highlighted by Aaron Westlake’s grand slam and Steven Liddle’s three-run shot causing Cohen to signal for his bullpen much earlier than expected.

Vanderbilt's quick start was the difference as the 'Dores only managed to score one more time on the night and held off the Bulldogs, 8-6. I asked VU head coach Tim Corbin after the game about his thoughts on Cohen’s rotation strategy:

“People have different strategies to that. Ours is that we’ve got to go with our best guy and get the momentum on Friday night. We couldn’t do something like that. Coach Cohen feels like his best opportunity to win the series is to play off like that and that’s fine. Some people look it as a series and some people look at it as game by game, and I’m sure he does too, but we just need some momentum right now and were not in any position to look at series wins. We need to look at games right now. We’re trying to eat a whale one bite at a time, not the whole thing.”

Vanderbilt's win couldn't have come at a more important time. After a flurry of ups and downs over the last few weeks capped off with being swept at home by Alabama, the Commodores needed to start this weekend on the right foot to keep pace with the rest of the league in the race to get to Hoover. With the win over the Bulldogs, Vanderbilt (25-17 overall, 8-10 SEC) moved into eighth place in the standings after Auburn fell to LSU, 7-3, Friday. The 'Dores victory also marked the first time they've captured a Friday home win since beating Vermont on February 27.

"We've gone through good and bad," pitcher Mike Minor said. "We're not use to losing but we just have to move on and we're starting to realize that. We can't be down on every game. We're playing better ball at the moment."

"Every win is a feather in our cap," Corbin added, "and you just hope something clicks in when you win a game like this."

More on Cohen

Due to Southeastern Conference policy, Cohen will have to sit out of Saturday’s contest against the Commodores after being ejected during the ninth inning Friday. The conference rule states that a one game suspension is ordered by the league if a player or coach is tossed for misconduct or unsportsmanlike conduct twice during the season. Cohen was also ejected in the Bulldogs’ loss to Auburn on April 5.

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