"Starkville is an Indian word for 'trailer park'." - Skip Bertman
It's Hoover or Bust and there's no room for error. A single loss and the Tigers will likely not be going to the SEC tournament for only the 2nd time since 1985. It's a daunting task, considering LSU hasn't swept MSU in Starkvegas since 1975 and we are 2-10 on the road in conference this year. Coach Mainieri is sticking with last week's rotation, including Eades on Sunday. It was also announced that Tyler Jones, fresh off a debatably fantastic performance at UNO, has traveled with the team this weekend and could be available as soon as Saturday for relief work.
Miss. St. (29-23, 12-15 in SEC) has had their ups and downs this year as all of the SEC West has with sweeps against Tenn. and Auburn, a series win against Ole Miss, series losses to Bama, S Car, Vandy, UF, and a sweep loss to UGA. MSU is batting .286 as a team with 25 HRs. Only 2 Bulldogs are batting over .300, 3B Jarrod Parks (.398 45R 68H 34RBI 3HR 40BB 33K) and INF Nick Vickerson (.314 47R 53H 22RBI 5HR 30BB 37K), with the rest of the team hovering around .275. MSU's strength then is pitching and it's very good with a club ERA of 4.11. Starters Pollorena and Routt have great lines, but the big problem is a monster closer in the pen in Jr RHP Caleb Reed (1.02ERA 44IP in 24App 52K 17BB 11 saves BA against .193). In a series where we must sweep, it will be vital to have the game in hand before Reed makes an appearance. Also note that MSU has no listed starter for GM3, as the regular Chris Stratton is now questionable after soreness and a very bad outing at Ole Miss last week.
Weather: Cloudy, high 80's. No chance of rain this weekend.
TV: Tonight only, a Comcast Sports broadcast that's also on Cox Sports and ESPN3.com with an MSU TV crew. Radio only for the rest.
Auburn @ Tenn
UK @ UF
Ole Miss @ ARK
Vandy @ UGA (Thursday ESPNU Game of the Week)
S Car @ Bama
Rooting Interest: East over West, though only S Car over Bama is remotely likely. ARK over Ole Miss to give us a leg up. Also, UGA losing to Vandy has a big positive impact on our NCAA chances.
In the National Slate, there is a HUGE UT-A&M series this weekend, as the Aggies hold a 1 game lead on the Big XII crown over the horns. The ACC has Virginia at UNC, and Tulane could fall out of NCAA contention with a series loss to ECU this weekend.
In other baseball news, a midweek game between UCLA and CS-Fullerton was canceled because of bees and exploding transformers, Bama thinks their Nike sticks are terrible, there may be a dead man walking at Tennessee, and this morning the SEC announced plans to keep the Tournament in Hoover until at least 2016.
PITCHING MATCHUPS from LSUSports.net
Game 1-6pm-Cox Sports/CSS/ESPN3.com--17-1 LSU
LSU - Fr. RHP Kevin Gausman (4-6, 3.73 ERA, 82.0 IP, 22 BB, 79 SO)
MSU - So. LHP Luis Pollorena (6-3, 3.02 ERA, 44.2 IP, 14 BB, 29 SO)
Game 2-6:30pm-No TV
LSU - Fr. RHP Kurt McCune (7-3, 3.30 ERA, 84.2 IP, 23 BB, 61 SO)
MSU - Jr. LHP Nick Routt (2-2, 3.86 ERA, 37.1 IP, 15 BB, 32 SO)
Game 3-2pm-No TV
LSU - Fr. RHP Ryan Eades (3-1, 4.86 ERA, 37.0 IP, 17 BB, 29 SO)
MSU - TBA