four or five ideas that every pitching coach in America has. You look at those things. Why do really good hitters in the big leagues go through 0-for-20 slumps? I don't know. It's a hard game. Sometimes you lose a little bit of balance or a little bit of rhythm or there's a minor distraction. It could be anything, but we've addressed it as consistently and thoroughly as we possibly could. The last two (starts for Pilkington) have been a little bit better and the last one was noticeably improved. Hopefully, we'll have that moving forward.”
Indeed Pilkington's last two outings have looked
more like what MSU is familiar with. In the regular season finale against top-ranked Florida, Pilkington went 6.1 innings and allowed just five hits and three runs. He did walk four batters, but it was a noticeable step forward.
In the Southeastern Conference Tournament against LSU last week, Pilkington again was solid when he went 4.2 innings giving up just four hits and a pair of runs. His outing was brief, but only because he was pitching on short rest. Still, Henderson liked what he saw.
“I'd say I was really pleased with his ability to go out and have rhythm in the delivery from the very beginning,” Henderson said of Pilkington's SEC Tournament start.
“That's what you noticed. It looked cleaner. It was a much more balanced, consistent delivery. Konnor and I have talked about it consistently and I was really pleased to see that.”
Pilkington said his mechanical issue mostly dealt with him not using his lower half enough when he was struggling. He says that has been fixed his last two times out. The Bulldogs certainly hope so because Pilkington can be extremely effective when he's right.
Prior to his three-start rough patch, Pilkington had an impressive 2.57 earned run average and opponents were hitting just .225 against him. Since then, Pilkington's ERA has ballooned to 4.28 and batters are now hitting more
than 30 points higher when facing him (.257).
Yet MSU isn't all that concerned with where Pilkington's numbers are now. Instead, the Bulldogs are focused on the positives they've seen from Pilkington's last two starts.
Henderson indicated Monday that Pilkington will almost certainly draw the start when MSU faces Oklahoma in the opener of the Tallahassee Regional on Friday at 11 a.m. State is banking on Pilkington being the guy he's been the last two times out.
“I was really pleased with what Konnor was able to do from a delivery standpoint (the last two starts) and we're obviously going to need him to carry that forward this weekend,” Henderson said.