No. 17 Mississippi State (23-8, 3-6 SEC) plays its first true non-conference road game of the year Tuesday night in Mobile, Ala., when the Bulldogs take on the South Alabama Jaguars (22-7). First pitch at USA's Eddie Stanky Field is set for 6:30 p.m.
The radio broadcast of the game, featuring the play-by-play and analysis of Jim Ellis and Bart Gregory, will be carried on the statewide MSU Baseball Radio Network and available online to HailStateTV subscribers (http://www.hailstate.com/hstvlive).
The Bulldogs carry an unblemished 7-0 record in mid-week competition into their 66th baseball meeting with South Alabama. State holds a 41-24 all-time lead in the series started in 1976, claiming the last three and 10 of the last 12 MSU-USA diamond duels. Last year at Dudy Noble Field a 12th-inning home run by Bulldog first baseman Wes Rea lifted State to a 2-0 win.
Juniors Hunter Renfroe and Adam Frazier form a formidable one-two offensive punch for the Bulldogs. The power-hitting Renfroe (.436) sports the SEC's second-highest batting average and leads State in home runs (9) and RBI (36). Solid-fielding shortstop Frazier (.363) stands third in the SEC with 45 hits and leads the league with 100 assists and 34 double plays fielded. Both Renfroe (15 games) and Frazier (nine games) ended career-longest hitting streaks during last weekend's series at No. 11 Arkansas.
Sophomore relief pitcher Ross Mitchell (5-0, 0.96), following a career-best 6.1 innings of scoreless relief pitching at Arkansas, now shares the SEC earned run average lead.
South Alabama won its first nine games and climbed into the national polls with a 22-4 record before dropping three Sun Belt Conference games last weekend at Florida International. The Jaguars lead the SBC with 308 hits. Junior designated hitter Jordan Patterson (.398) ranks fourth in the Sun Belt Conference in hitting. The Jags have tabbed junior right-hander Matt Bell (4-0, 1.61) for starting mound duty against Mississippi State. MSU has not designated a Tuesday night starter.
MSU turned four double plays last week to raise its NCAA-leading total to 41. The Diamond Dog defense has played 16 error-free games, including their last six, and now fields at a .977 clip.
After two weekends of league play on the road, the Bulldogs resume SEC competition at Dudy Noble Field with a three-game weekend series against SEC Eastern Division rival Florida (13-16, 4-5 SEC). Game times are set for 6:30 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Saturday's game will be televised regionally by Comcast Sports Southeast/Cox Sports Television.
Seven former Mississippi State players are included on Major League Baseball's opening day rosters for the 2013 season.
The list includes four players --- pitchers Paul Maholm (Atlanta) and Jonathan Papelbon (Philadelphia), first baseman Mitch Moreland (Texas) and outfielder Tyler Moore (Washington) along with three former Diamond Dogs serving in managerial or coaching roles --- manager Nat (Buck) Showalter (Baltimore), first base coach Chris Maloney (St. Louis) and pitching coach Bobby Thigpen (Chicago White Sox).
Maholm and Papelbon are in their ninth seasons in Major League Baseball and their second seasons with their current teams. Moreland started at first base in the Rangers' Sunday night season-opener while Moore begins his second year with the Nationals after becoming the 49th player with Mississippi State ties to advance to the highest level of professional baseball.
Showalter, the MSU single-season record-holder for batting average (.459), is in his 15th season as a Major League skipper and his fourth with the Orioles. Cardinals' first base coach Chris Maloney is in his second season with St. Louis while former Major League saves record-holder Bobby Thigpen this spring begins his initial season as the pitching coach for the Chicago White Sox.
Riding a 16-under-par day, Mississippi State dominated 36-holes of golf on Monday to go into the clubhouse 14 strokes ahead of the field at Reunion.
The Ole Miss-hosted BancorpSouth Intercollegiate finished Monday with the Bulldogs ahead of Central Arkansas, Southeastern Louisiana, Chattanooga and the fifth-place Rebels.
"Today we did what good teams do," Coach Clay Homan said. "We did a nice job of bouncing back after a little adversity and stayed the course. Robi made a seven on a par 3 during the middle of his round, but made four birdies to finish at even. Barrett opened up with an 80, but put it behind him and came back with a 69. Joe was two over through ten holes and played his last eight holes at 6-under-par. That kind of effort is what I'm most proud of these guys for. Then Chad and Axel did what they've done all year, being consistently good."
The 560 total score over two rounds paced MSU in first place for the entire day. The 281 and 279 broke into the Top 10's of the MSU history book for lowest rounds. The opening-round 281 ranked eighth all-time for first round scores, while the 279 ranked sixth all-time for second round scores.
Homan's squad is only one round away from capturing their third win of the 2012-2013 season, which would be the most since the 1998-1999 squad's three win season.
Once again, junior Joe Sakulpolphaisan led the Bulldog scorecard with a second-place showing. Sakulpolphaisan matched his career-low round Monday after firing off a 68 from the field, the Thailand native shot a 6-under-par, 138 for the day to tie for second overall.
Junior Axel Boasson is also in the hunt going into the final round, placing fourth after 36 holes. The Iceland native is seeking his second Top-five card of the season, which would also equal his fourth-consecutive Top-15 finish of the year. Boasson is currently at 5-under-par, 139 for the tourney.
Former SEC Player of the Week and junior Bulldog Chad Ramey is bouncing back nicely after his 26th-place performance in Tallahassee. The junior is currently tied for eighth after going 2-under-par, 142 from Reunion.
Just outside of the top ten is senior Robi Calvesbert, who is shot a 2-over-par, 146 to tie for the 16th spot. Junior Barrett Edens fought back from an opening-round 80 to score a 69 in the second round. Edens is currently tied for 31st at the BancorpSouth Intercollegiate.
Live stats will be available through HailState.com. Fans can also follow the men's golf program through Facebook at facebook.com/mstateMG and on Twitter at @mstateMG.
Coming off a thrilling walk-off win against Auburn this past Saturday, the Mississippi State softball team (21-12, 2-7 SEC) will play a pair of non-conference games this week, starting with a Tuesday night home affair vs. Jackson State at 6 p.m. The Maroon and White then travel to Ridgeland, Miss., for a 6 p.m. neutral-site game against UAB at Freedom Ridge Park Wednesday.
Jackson State at home represents the beginning a three-city tour of five-games in six days that wraps up this weekend with a road series at No. 3 Florida (35-3, 10-2 SEC). Jackson State is 19-21 overall, but the Tigers are first place in the SWAC Eastern Division with a 6-1 mark. Leading the way for JSU is speedster Jasmine Warren, who is ninth in the NCAA with 28 stolen bases.
Mississippi State is 6-0 all-time against JSU, including two victories (11-2 in 6, 12-3 in 5) in Head Coach Vann Stuedeman's debut season a year ago. Admission is free for all softball fans who can attend Tuesday's home game against JSU, but for those that cannot, live video and audio streaming of the game will be available online to HailStateTV subscribers (www.HailState.com/hstvlive).
On Wednesday, the Maroon and White will head west to Ridgeland as it battles the Blazers for the second time in eight days. The Bulldogs had the tying runner in scoring position in the final two innings last Tuesday in Birmingham, but ultimately fell to UAB by a narrow 2-1 margin.
With the win, UAB picked up its third win all-time against MSU (3-13). The rematch between the two NCAA Tournament teams from 2012 will feature the 33rd (MSU) and 34th (UAB) ranked teams in this week's NCAA RPI. The Green and Gold are led by southpaw pitcher Lannah Campbell, who is the ace on a pitching staff that is 18th nationally in ERA. Admission for the game at Freedom Ridge Park is $6.
The Bulldogs have an ace of their own in junior right-hander Alison Owen, who leads the country in fewest walks allowed per game (0.41) and is top-20 in the country in fewest hits allowed per game (3.9, 13th), strikeouts per seven innings (9.6, 14th) and shutouts (5, 17th). Offensively, MSU is paced by junior slugger Sam Lenahan, who is 22nd in the nation with a .538 on-base percentage.
For live in-game updates of MSU's midweek non-conference clashes, follow the program on Twitter at @MStateSB. For pictures, like the team on Facebook at Facebook.com/MStateSB and visit the team's Instagram account at MStateSB. For pregame and postgame video, check out MSU's official YouTube channel at YouTube.com/HailState.