OMAHA, Neb. | Some news and links to pass along as we await Game 2 of the College World Series finals…
• MSU basketball player Wendell Lewis has been granted an extra year of eligibility by the SEC, which approved his medical hardship request. The senior forward missed the final 24 games of the 2012-13 season after suffering a knee injury on December. Lewis was averaging 8.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game before the injury, which was one of several personnel setbacks MSU had to deal with in coach Rick Ray‘s first season.
“I really believe that Wendell needed another year in our program to improve on the court, because he was just beginning to make strides right before his injury after coming off two straight games where he scored career highs,” Ray said in a statement. “This move is beneficial for both Wendell and our basketball program.”
In 98 career games (13 starts), Lewis is averaging 3.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. With Lewis now officially back, MSU returns all 10 scholarship players from last year’s squad, which went 10-22 (4-14 SEC).
• ESPN play-by-play man Mike Patrick said during last night’s CWS broadcast that MSU coaches told him a lot of Mississippians could not afford to make the trip to Omaha but came anyway. That did not sit well with MSU fans, who turned out by the thousands to TD Ameritrade Park last night.
Athletics director Scott Stricklin issued a statement on Twitter this morning, noting that he had received some complaints about Patrick’s comment. “Many Bulldog fans have made sacrifices to support (the) team in Omaha. MSU appreciates ESPN’s attempt to applaud the devotion (of) our great fan base.”
UPDATE: ESPN has issued a statement, as tweeted out by Bulldog Sports Radio. In full: “Mike was relaying information conveyed to him by the Mississippi State coaches celebrating the passion and dedication of its fan base. We look forward to continuing to showcase this great team to a national audience in Game 2 tonight.”
• I’ve got all the links you can handle from last night’s 3-1 UCLA win over MSU. Game 2 is at 7 p.m. today on ESPN, and no, we don’t yet have word on who will start for State on the mound. UCLA is going with junior right-hander Nick Vander Tuig (13-4, 2.31 ERA).