Falcons To Play Three-Game Set At Mississippi State

Feb. 28, 2008

Series Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Air Force Baseball (1-3) @ Mississippi State (2-2)

at Mississippi State - Fri. Feb. 29 - Dudy Noble Field - Starkville, Miss., 4 p.m. CST
at Mississippi State - Sat. March 1 - Dudy Noble Field - Starkville, Miss., 2 p.m. CST
at Mississippi State - Sun. March 2 - Dudy Noble Field - Starkville, Miss., 1:30 p.m. CST
- Times local to site

Live Stats:
Available for all three games online at www.mstateathletics.com

Radio/Video WebCast:
Available for all three games online at www.mstateathletics.com (subscription fee required). Radio for Sunday's game is free. Friday's game will have a free video webcast.

The Coaches:
AF: Mike Hutcheon (Wayne State (Neb.), 1984) is 34-178 in his 4th year at Air Force and 273-318 in his 13th year as a head coach.
Mississippi State: Ron Polk (Grand Canyon, 1965) is 1,118-557-2 in his 29th year at Miss. St. and 1,352-669-2 in his 35th year as a head coach.

Series :
First-ever meeting

Last Meeting:

AF: One game winning streak.
Mississippi State: Two game winning streak.

Falcons To Play Three At Mississippi State
The Air Force Falcon baseball team (1-3) heads to Starkville, Miss., to take on Mississippi State in a three-game set Fri.-Sun., Feb. 29-March 2 at Dudy Noble Stadium. Radio and live stats are available for the entire series.

Noting the Falcons
- Air Force is 1-3 on the season after going 0-3 at the 2008 Service Academies Spring Classic and defeating Northern Colorado on Tuesday.
- Air Force is batting .248 on the season, has a pitching staff earned run average of 6.00 and is fielding .942.
- Freshman Nathan Carter lead the Falcons with a .462 batting average and .632 on base percentage.
- Sophomore reliever Michael Ruvolo leads the pitching staff with a 0.00 ERA in 7.2 innings of work and opponents are hitting .115 off of him.

2008 Falcons Quick Preview
- The Falcons return six starters and 16 letterwinners.
- Air Force welcomes 17 newcomers, including 15 freshmen, to the team.
- 76.5 percent of the team is freshmen and sophomores.
- The Falcons are projected to start six sophomores, three freshmen and a senior on the field/batting order. A junior and two sophomores are slated to be the starting rotation.
- Senior outfielder Chay Derbigny and junior right-hander Jake Petro are the team captains.
- Derbigny is the top returning hitter with a .301 average in 2007.
- Petro is the top returning pitcher with a 3-9 record and 6.28 ERA in 77.1 innings last year.
- Senior catcher/RHP Josh Meents is the lone three-year letterwinner on the team.

2007 Falcons In Review
- Falcons went 8-44 in 2007 with a 0-23 Mountain West Conference record, finishing in seventh place.
- The team batted .272, which was 23 points better than the 2006 team.
- The team ERA was 8.36, which was 2.33 runs per game lower than the 2006 squad.
- Senior Karl Bolt led the team with a .354 batting average to go with eight home runs and 47 RBI.
- Senior Mitch Brown led the Falcons with a 5.87 ERA and pitched 76.2 innings in 22 appearances.
- The Falcons lost seniors Karl Bolt, Mitch Brown, Geno Salazar and Joe Peterson.
- Karl Bolt was named first-team all-MWC.
- Karl Bolt was a 15th round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies and went on to lead the Gulf Coast League in home runs and total bases.
- Freshman reliever Michael Ruvolo tied the school record with 33 pitching appearances.
- Shortstop K.J. Randhawa batted .405 in MWC play and earned freshman all-american honors.

Series History vs. Mississippi State
- Air Force plays Mississippi State of the first time ever.

Air Force vs. The SEC
- The Falcons are 0-4 all-time in games against SEC schools.
- All four of Air Force's games against SEC opponents have come at the Service Academies Spring Classic at USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn.

2/26/95	vs. Kentucky	L, 4-1
3/1/98	vs. Ole Miss	L, 15-2
2/15/02	vs. Arkansas	L, 18-1
2/27/04	vs. Kentucky	L, 11-1

Air Force-SEC Ties
- LSU head coach Paul Mainieri was the head coach at Air Force for six years from 1989 to 1994.
- Mainieri is the only coach to in school history to win 20 or more games in six consecutive seasons.
- Mainieri's 1994 squad led the nation in hitting, triples-per-game and sluggin percentage.
- Mainieri posted a record of 152-158 at the Academy.

Scouting Mississippi State
- Mississippi State enters the weekend with a 2-2 record.
- The Bulldogs, are coming off a 38-22 season in 2007, which culminated in a miracle run to the College World Series after being predicted to finish last in the SEC.
- Mississippi State is offensively by senior second baseman Brandon Turner, who is batting .444 with a homer and four RBI.
- Senior righthander Aaron Weathorford leads the staff with a 0.00 ERA in 3.1 innings pitched in relief.
- The Bulldogs are batting .293 as a team and have a staff ERA of 7.94.

Air Force-Mississippi State Connections
- Air Force head coach Mike Hutcheon spent two years under Ron Polk as a graduate assistant from 1988-89.
- The Falcons do not have a player on its roster from Mississippi.

Northern Colorado Game Recap
Matt Alexander's tenth-inning walk-off home run rallied Air Force past Northern Colorado, 5-3, Tuesday afternoon in Hobbs Field at the Runyon Sports Complex. In a thrilling rally, the Falcons forced extra innings with a bases-loaded walk in the ninth. With Air Force down 3-2, freshman Nathan Carter battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a bases-loaded walk to tie the game up. After Jake Allen led off the 10th with a single, Alexander drilled the second pitch he saw from Bear pitcher Jason Banks over the center field wall for the walk-off win. Alexander was mobbed by teammates as he touched home plate. The Falcons pitching staff held Northern Colorado to six hits in the game, getting timely defense along the way. Michael Ruvolo (1-1) picked up the win with three shutout innings of relief. Alex Truesdale pitched four scoreless innings of relief, striking out four and Brad Pingel helped shut down a Northern Colorado rally in the seventh with back-to-back strikeouts with runners on. Falcon starter Jake Petro went two innings, allowing two runs off two hits. Colin Shepherd also faced a batter in the seventh. Air Force had nine hits in the game. Chay Derbigny went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a stolen base. Carter was 1-for-2, with two runs, and RBI and two stolen bases. Carter was also hit by a pitch in the left ear, but remained in the game and later came through with the bases loaded walk. The freshman came up big defensively, making a run-saving diving catch to end the second inning. Northern Colorado scored two in the first, while the Falcons manufacturing one in the bottom of the inning. Air Force tied the game up at 2-2 in the fifth when Derbigny doubled in Carter. The Bears went back up by one in the seventh, as Mees had a two-out single to score Chad Murray. Ben Ausbun started the Air Force rally in the ninth with a single. The bases were quickly loaded after Jason Griggs got hit by a pitch in the head and then Jon McMahon bunted the ball over the charging third baseman's head on a wheel play by UNC.

Notes From The First Four Games
- Air Force had its first errorless game of the season against UNC.
- K.J. Randhawa and Tyler McBride have struck out just once each.
Randawa has one whiff in 16 at bats, McBride has one in 13 at bats.
- Nathan Carter has hit successfully in all four games played.
- Although it's just four games into the season, Air Force is averaging 7.5 strikeouts per game, which is significantly higher than the 4.3 per game in 2007.
- Chay Derbigny needs one more stolen base to crack Air Force's top 10 all-time. Derbigny has 31 career stolen bases.
- Taking away two throwing errors by Air Force pitchers, the Falcons are fielding .953.
- Aside from the starting pitchers, Air Force has used the same lineup and batting order for all four games this year.

Several Falcons To Play Summer Ball
- Nathan Carter, Jake Petro and K.J. Randhawa are already slated to play summer baseball in 2008 with the Alexandria Beetles in the Northwoods League. Last year, Air Force assistant coach Chandler was an assistant coach for the Beetles.
- As many as ten more Falcons are also slated to play on summer teams this upcoming summer.
- In 2007, Chay Derbigny (Waimea Waves - Hawaiian Collegiate Baseball League), Erol Kelter (Anchorage Bucks - Alaska Baseball League) and Josh Meents (Yuba-Sutter Goldsox - Horizon Collegiate League), played summer ball.

Seniors Get Assignments
- All four Air Force seniors have recently obtained their first assignment upon graduation. Upon graduation, the four seniors will become 2nd Liutenants in the Air Force and are required to serve five years of active duty.
- Seniors Jake Allen, Chay Derbigny and Erol Kelter will all attend Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) in the first step towards becoming a pilot.
- Derbigny is slated to go to UPT at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi.
- Allen and Kelter will go to UPT at Laughlin AFB, Texas.
- Senior Josh Meents will be stationed at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., as a Scientific Analyst where he will contuct research on Satellites.

Additional Falcon Notes
- Air Force freshman Nathan Carter was a 23rd round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2007 MLB Draft.
- Nathan Carter and Vai Schierholtz have elder brothers on the cusp of making MLB rosters in 2008. Carter's brother, Chris, was part of the Danny Haren trade between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Oakland Athletics and now is with the Boston Red Sox. Carter played first base for the Diamondback's AAA team in Tucson last year. He was also a three-year letterwinner at Stanford. Schierholtz's bother, Nate, played several games for the San Franciso Giants as an outfielder last year, but spent most of the year with the AAA team in Fresno.
- The Falcons roster features five pitchers that are 6-foot-4 or taller. - Chay Derbigny has been hit by a pitch 20 times and needs to be plunked four more times to crack the top eight.
- Addison Gentry and Jeff Abt both played quarterback for the Air Force junior varsity football program as freshmen. Abt is still with the football team and will be competing for the starting quarterback duties this spring and fall.

Up Next
The Falcons travel to Palm Beach, Fla., to take part in the Papa John's Palm Beach Challenge, next weekend, March 6-9. The Falcons take on Maine, Lehigh, Ohio State, UConn and Penn.



Jennifer Hiddink
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