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12th ranked Mississippi State (29-10-1, 11-6 SEC) and 23rd ranked Florida (29-12-1, 8-9-1 SEC) meet in a three-game SEC series set in Gainesville, Florida this weekend. Game times are Friday at 5:30 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. CDT.
Florida, which is 2nd in the SEC Eastern Division, is coming off a series victory over the Georgia Bulldogs while Mississippi State, 3nd in the Western Division, is coming off a series loss at South Carolina.
Florida won two of the three games against Georgia while MSU also lost two of three games. All of MSU's games were decided to one run.
Florida is expected to start sophomore right-handed pitcher Tommy Boss (1-1, 2.12) against junior left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm (6-1, 1.46) Friday night. Teams are hitting .237 against Boss. Boss, who will be starting just his third game of the season, has walked 4 batters in 29.2 innings. Maholm, who will be starting his 10th game of the season, is allowing teams a batting average of .197.
Saturday and Sunday, Florida is expected to start 6' 8", 250-pound freshman RHP Christian Madson (3-1, 4.38) and sophomore RHP Justin Hoyman (6-3, 2.78), while MSU is expected to counter with sophomore RHP Alan Johnson (4-2, 3.74) and sophomore LHP Todd Nicholas (4-1, 2.68).
Florida is batting .320 as a team with 49 home runs and is averaging 8.88 runs per game. MSU is hitting at a .309 clip while hitting 37 home runs and averaging 6.70 runs per game.
Florida is led at the plate by Brett Dowdy who is hitting .403 with 4 home runs and 39 RBI. Other Gators hitting over the .300 mark include Ben Harrison (.369-6-42), C.J. Smith (.366-14-54), Brian Rose (.359-8-34) and Jonathan Tucker (.344-0-16).
Mississippi State is led at the plate by Steve Gendron who is hitting .352 with 1 home run and 21 RBI. Others hitting over .300 include Matthew Maniscalco (.351-6-27), Brad Corley (.331-1-24), J.B. Tucker (.329-1-15), Matthew Brinson (.327-6-29), Brent Lewis (.325-3-18), Craig Tatum (.316-3-19) and Jeff Butts ( .308-5-20).
Florida has won seven straight against MSU including all three games at Starkville last season.
The Gators are 27-4 overall and 6-3 in the SEC in the SEC at home in 2003.
The Gators lead the series against MSU 39-32 all-time and 18-11 in Gainesville.
Florida is 28-1-1 when scoring 5 or more runs and just 1-11 when scoring less than five runs.
Friday night is not a good night for Florida as evidenced by their 3-7 record. Saturday is a little better, 6-4, while Sunday is the best day of the weekend, 8-1-1.
MSU will be without starting centerfielder Joseph Hunter due to surgery on his thumb this past Thursday. He is expected to be out for 2.5 weeks. Another freshman, Jeff Butts, will start in his place.
Of all the SEC teams, MSU only has all-time losing marks against Florida (32-39) and Alabama (171-188-4).
MSU will face three RHP starting pitchers this weekend. Overall, MSU has been very successful facing RHP pitchers, going 19-4-1.
After going 22-3-1 in Feb. and March, MSU is 7-7 in April.
MSU is 7-2 on the road in the SEC.
MSU is 2-5 in its last 7 SEC games. In those 7 games, they have scored a total of 19 runs, an average of 2.7 per game, while giving up 32 (4.6 rpg). Florida hasn't fared much better, going 3-4 in their last seven SEC games. While they have scored 36 runs, they have given up 39.
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.