Dogs Host MVSU In 4 pm Tuesday Contest

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State opens its second straight five-game week of baseball Tuesday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field when the Bulldogs (10-3) host Mississippi Valley State (1-10). First pitch for the 20th renewal of the MSU-MVSU baseball rivalry is set for 4 p.m., a change from the originally-announced 6:30 p.m. start time.

Junior lefty Nick Routt, a 2009 SEC All-Freshman Team selection, is scheduled to make his injury-delayed 2011 debut as the Mississippi State starter. MVSU has tabbed senior right-hander Steven Barnes (0-2, 4.80) for game-opening mound duty. He would become the 16th Bulldog pitcher to take the mound this spring.

After besting Alcorn State 8-1 in the midweek, the Bulldogs swept a pair of games from Georgia State (8-1, 7-3) and dropped two to Iowa (5-3, 7-6) for a 3-2 worksheet on the week. During the five-game span senior catcher Cody Freeman (.421) hit .389 while senior outfielder/first baseman Ryan Collins (.302) collected a team-best eight hits. Freeman enters the week riding a six-game hitting streak. Another senior, third baseman Jarrod Parks (.400), leads the club with 18 hits and 15 RBI and has registered a hit in 11 of MSU's 13 games.

Routt drew six starts before being sidelined last March, posting a 1-1 record with a 6.52 earned run average in 19.1 innings of mound duty. He led the 2009 pitching staff as a rookie in 2009 with five wins, 87 strikeouts and 86.2 innings pitched.

Mississippi State is 19-0 all-time against Mississippi Valley State in a series that dates back to 1994. State claimed last year's meeting 16-2 at Dudy Noble Field.

The Bulldogs travel to Birmingham, Ala., Wednesday for a scheduled 6:30 p.m. meeting with UAB. Following their first road game of the year, the Bulldogs return to Starkville to open a three-game weekend series against first-time foe Sacred Heart University. Adjusted weekend game times include a 5 p.m. start for Friday's series-opener and a 6 p.m. first pitch for Saturday's MSU-SHU clash.

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