As No. 3 Mississippi State chases a Southeastern Conference championship, change could be coming to the pitching rotation as soon as this weekend.
Bulldogs head coach Chris Lemonis said on the SportsTalk Mississippi radio show on Monday that usual No. 1 and No. 2 starters Christian MacLeod and Will Bednar will of course stick in their current roles for the first two games of this week's Missouri series, starting Thursday. But as for the series finale on Saturday, that's now up in the air.
"We're gonna go TBA [for Saturday's game] and try to figure some things out," Lemonis said. "Jackson Fristoe is a big part of our rotation. Houston Harding is a big part of our rotation. We've just got to see how we match up and do. I still have a lot of confidence in Jackson. It's just got to be a little bit better. We've had a couple of tough starts over the last couple of weeks. Every game is huge right now. It's whatever we've got to do to get a W."
Fristoe has served as State's third starting pitcher for much of the season, but the talented freshman has had some struggles of late. After starting the year allowing only four runs over his first 21 innings of work, Fristoe has since given up 22 runs over his last 23.2 innings.
Meanwhile Harding has made a case to start as he has become a reliable long reliever. The former midweek starter hasn't allowed a run over his last seven innings of work and his season ERA has shrunk to 2.21.
Now, Lemonis and company must figure out if Harding has developed to the point where starting him improves the Bulldogs as a whole.
"Everything is big for us right now as you're fighting in an SEC race," Lemonis said. "We're trying to get every win that we can."
Award finalists announced
Finalists were announced for C Spire's slate of yearly statewide awards on Monday and four Bulldogs are in the running.
In baseball, outfielder Tanner Allen and pitcher Landon Sims are both finalists for the Ferris Trophy – presented annually to the top college baseball player in the state of Mississippi.
In men's basketball, guard D.J. Stewart, Jr., is among those up for the Howell Trophy. The honor is given to the state's best men's basketball player.
Cornerback Emmanuel Forbes is a finalist for the Conerly Trophy, presented each year to the Magnolia State's top football player.
The winners of all awards will be announced in a virtual ceremony on Monday, May 24.
MSU implementing COMPASS NIL platform
The following is courtesy of MSU media relations:
Mississippi State Athletics announced Monday it will be the first university in the country to implement the COMPASS NIL platform to aid its student-athletes in maximizing and monetizing name, image, and likeness opportunities. COMPASS will provide all MSU student-athletes with NIL education, deal disclosure, and compliance monitoring tools in one easy-to-use platform.
“We’re looking forward to this partnership with CLC and Game Plan,” MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen said. “This will be an incredible resource to help educate our student-athletes and better position them not only for current success but also for life beyond college athletics.”
Developed by CLC, the nation’s leading trademark licensing company, and Game Plan, the premier provider of athlete education, the COMPASS platform will provide the proven systems and education to enable Bulldog student-athletes and staff to begin preparing for NIL now in advance of any NCAA, state and/or federal legislation. The platform also allows for flexibility to adapt to NIL guidelines or laws as they evolve over time, ensuring student-athletes never miss opportunities and remain compliant in their eligibility requirements.
“We are excited to partner with Mississippi State to deliver COMPASS to their student-athletes and staff to help prepare them for success in the NIL era,” said Cory Moss, CEO of CLC. “We designed COMPASS to be a fully-integrated tool to make it easy for student-athletes to receive NIL education and comply with reporting requirements, and we look forward to helping Mississippi State be a leader in the NIL space.”
MSU will begin rolling out the COMPASS platform to student-athletes during the summer semester.