The Bulldogs take on the Lions in 6 p.m. games both Tuesday and Wednesday in Hammond, La., and then launch their rugged 30-game, 10-weekend Southeastern Conference schedule this weekend against No. 13 LSU at Alex Box Stadium. The first two games of the series in Baton Rouge will be regionally televised (Friday, 7 p.m. on Cox Sports Television and Saturday, 6 p.m. on Comcast Sports Southeast). The series concludes with a 1 p.m. contest Sunday.
The local radio broadcast of Tuesday evening’s MSU-Southeastern Louisiana game can be heard on WNMQ-FM (103.1) in Columbus, Miss., while the radio broadcast of State’s four other games this week will be carried on the statewide MSU Baseball Radio Network. Live audio for all games is available on a subscription basis online at www.HailState.com/hstvlive.
Mississippi State posted a 2-1 worksheet last weekend against hot-hitting Mercer, which opened the week leading the NCAA in both batting average and home runs. The Bulldogs got a career-best, 8.1-inning, 8-strikeout pitching performance from junior righty Kendall Graveman (Alexander City, Ala.) in a series-clinching 3-1 Sunday win that provided head coach John Cohen with his 100th MSU coaching win. State enters the week having won eight of its last nine games. Senior relief ace Caleb Reed (Cleveland, Miss.) came out of the bullpen to notch his SEC-leading fifth save of the season and third save of the week.
Redshirt freshman outfielder Demarcus Henderson (Waynesboro, Miss.) extended his current hitting streak to a team season-longest eight games Sunday and begins the week with a team-leading .414 batting average. For his efforts he was honored Monday as the SEC Freshman of the Week. Sophomore shortstop Adam Frazier (Bishop, Ga.) collected seven hits last week and is hitting at a healthy .375 clip with a team with a team-best 26 hits, fifth-most in the SEC. Freshman first baseman Wes Rea (Gulfport, Miss.) drove in six runs last week to raise his team-best RBI total to 16. Rea (.339) leads the team with five multiple-RBI games.
Mississippi State is expected to utilize a split pitching assignment for both midweek games at Southeastern Louisiana and will set its weekend rotation for the LSU series later in the week. LSU, the first ranked team faced by the Bulldogs in 2012, hosts Notre Dame Monday and Northwestern State Wednesday in advance of Friday’s series-opener at Alex Box Stadium.
POLL NOTES: Mississippi State moved up in the latest rankings for college baseball. The rankings rank from No. 13 (Perfect Game), No. 21 (Baseball America), No. 22 (ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll). It’s the highest national ranking for the Diamond Dogs since finishing their run to the 2011 NCAA Super Regionals with a No. 15 final ranking.