Mississippi State

Mississippi State takes a chance with starter vs. South Alabama

Mississippi State pitcher Cole Gordon (24) reacts after an out against Florida during the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala. Gordan will be the MSU starting pitcher on Friday against South Alabama in Hattiesburg.
Mississippi State pitcher Cole Gordon (24) reacts after an out against Florida during the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala. Gordan will be the MSU starting pitcher on Friday against South Alabama in Hattiesburg. Associated PRess

Mississippi State baseball coach Andy Cannizaro has decided to take a chance against South Alabama on Friday in his team's 6 p.m. opener of the Hattiesburg Regional.

Cannizaro announced Wednesday that right-hander Cole Gordon will be the starting pitcher against a South Alabama lineup that's loaded with left-handed bats. Gordon is 2-2 with 4.59 ERA in 16 appearances, seven starts, this season.

That pushes back MSU ace left-hander Konnor Pilkington to pitch on Saturday. The East Central product is 7-5 with a 3.13 ERA in 15 starts this season.

If MSU wins, it will face the winner of Friday's 1 p.m. game featuring No. 1 seed Southern Miss (48-14) and No. 4 seed Illinois-Chicago (39-15).

Cannizaro is holding Pilkington for Saturday in order to set up a more favorable match-up against Southern Miss, which has had more problems with left-handers than righties this season.

MSU (36-24) and South Alabama played three times this season with the Bulldogs taking two games.

South Alabama (39-19) is expected to throw its ace, right-hander Randy Bell, against MSU.

USM has yet to announce a starter for the opener, but junior left-hander Kirk McCarty seems like the likely choice.

Patrick Magee: 228-896-2333, @Patrick_Magee

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