MSU to Face Morehead State, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Fresh from a first-ever three-game road series sweep of 16th-ranked Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., ninth-ranked Mississippi State (17-3-1) returns to action at Dudy Noble Field Tuesday night, taking on first-time foe Morehead State University (7-11) in the first of two midweek matchups between the Diamond Dogs and the Eagles. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. both Tuesday and Wednesday.

MSU sandwiched season-first complete-game pitching performances by junior lefty Paul Maholm (3-1, 1.80) and sophomore southpaw Todd Nicholas (3-0, 1.65) around a steady six-inning Saturday pitching effort by sophomore Alan Johnson (3-0, 2.35) to hand the Razorbacks their first three losses at home. The Bulldogs never trailed during the series and committed but one error in 28 innings on the artificial turf at UA's Baum Stadium.

Junior right-hander Jeff Lacher (2-0, 2.81), with wins in his last two outings as a Bulldog starter, is scheduled to open Tuesday's game on the mound for State. Lacher worked a career-longest eight innings and earned his first win in MSU's 9-4 victory at New Orleans March 12. In last Tuesday's 12-3 series-opening win against Memphis at AutoZone Park, the Hattiesburg, Miss., product allowed one run over six innings and matched a career-best with six strikeouts.

The Morehead State Eagles are excpected to send junior right-hander Casey Campbell (0-3, 4.34) to the hill for his fifth start of the year. The Ohio Valley Conference has played its last 13 games at home and dropped a pair of decisions to Virginia Tech (19-7 and 18-5) in Morehead, Ky., over the weekend.

Senior shortstop and team co-captain Matthew Maniscalco leads the Bulldogs with a .393 batting average, 35 hits and nine stolen bases. The Oxford, Ala., product will be making his 205th consecutive career start (all at shortstop) and his 113th at Dudy Noble Field. He's had at least one hit in 20 of MSU's 21 games and opened the year with a 12-game hitting streak. Over the weekend MSU junior third baseman Steve Gendron (.384) topped that run of games, extending his current hitting streak to 14 games.

State's RBI leader with 16 runs driven in is sophomore left fielder Jon Mungle (.254), who went 7-for-12 with three doubles in the Arkansas series. Two of junior first baseman Matthew Brinson (.329) eight hits in the past week left the park, giving him a team-leading four home runs for the year and 25 for his career.

The Bulldogs posted a 4-1 mark during last week's season-longest five-game road swing, solidifying their position in college baseball's national rankings. MSU maintained its No. 9 ranking in the weekly poll conducted by Arizona-based Collegiate Baseball magazine and climbed a notch to No. 11 in the rankings compiled by Baseball America.

MSU resumes SEC Western Division competition on the road this weekend, traveling to Oxford, Miss., for a three-game set with Mississippi (15-7), ranked 29th in this week's Collegiate Baseball poll. Game times at Oxford/University Stadium are set for 4 p.m. Friday and 1:30 p.m. for both Saturday and Sunday. The Bulldogs and the Rebels are 5-1 in SEC competition and lodged in a three-way tie with Auburn for second place in the overall conference standings.


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