The game wraps up a tough stretch of games that has sent the Diamond Dogs on the road for eight of nine games. The Bulldogs next return to Dudy Noble Field for a crucial three-game Southeastern Conference Thursday-through-Saturday series with longtime divisional rival LSU. Mississippi State, tabbed by the league's coaches for a last-place finish in the SEC West, enters the final weekend of league play in a four-way logjam atop the SEC West standings. The divisional champion earns a No. 2 seeding in next week's SEC Baseball Tournament May 25-29 at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala.
MSU will send sophomore lefty Kendall Graveman (5-0, 3.18 ERA) to the hill for his ninth start of the campaign. Memphis will counter with freshman southpaw Erik Schoenrock (2-3, 5.61 ERA), the son of seventh-year UM head coach and former MSU assistant coach Daron Schoenrock. Graveman is 4-0 with one no-decision in his last five starts. State has won eight of its last nine games after registering its second straight SEC road series win last weekend, a 2-1 series win at Ole Miss.
The Bulldogs have won 12 of their last 13 games against the Tigers and hold a 50-21 all-time series lead. State is 3-2 against Memphis in games played at AutoZone Park, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals' Pacific Coast League AAA affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds. The Redbirds, coached by former Mississippi State first baseman Chris Maloney, face Fresno Grizzlies at 1:05 p.m. in the first half of a pro/college baseball doubleheader at AutoZone Park.
Senior third baseman Jarrod Parks, announced Monday as one of three finalists for the Cellular South Ferriss Trophy, continues to lead the Southeastern Conference with a .396 batting average and a .538 on-base percentage. He leads the club with 36 walks and ranks as the SEC's second-most plunked player, having been struck by pitches 17 times.
Thursday's series-opener against LSU at Dudy Noble Field is set for 6:36 p.m. The game will be televised regionally by Comcast Sports Southeast with former Bulldog hurler Jay Powell joining Richard Cross on the CSS broadcast team. MSU will honor its eight senior players and two senior managers prior to Friday's 6:30 p.m. game. The MSU-LSU series concludes with a 2 p.m. game Saturday. Tickets for the games will be sold daily at the Dudy Noble Field ticket office beginning two hours prior to game time.