With six league games and two weekends remaining in the league race, Mississippi State begins the weekend series two games off the pace of SEC-leading LSU (33-16-1, 16-7-1 SEC) and a half-game behind No. 2 Auburn (34-14, 15-9 SEC). LSU and Auburn meet this weekend in a key three-game series at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge.
Mississippi State needs two wins to clinch its 17th consecutive berth in the SEC Tournament May 21-25 at Hoover, Ala. The Bulldogs, one victory away from matching the team's 2002 win total (34-24-1), are a win away from surpassing the team's 2002 SEC finish (14-15).
The series marks Mississippi State's first appearance at UG's Foley Field since the 1999 campaign and marks a homecoming of sorts in Athens for Mississippi State skipper Ron Polk. Polk, in his 30th season as a collegiate head coach, served as Georgia's head baseball coach in 2000 (32-26) and 2001 (47-22), leading UG to the SEC crown and a berth in the NCAA College World Series in his final season in Athens. Also joining the reunion is current MSU assistant coach Daron Schoenrock, an assistant both seasons on Polk's Georgia staff.
The SEC's Baseball Bulldogs have met 57 times previously, with Mississippi State holding a 33-24 series lead. MSU has claimed four of the last five and 14 of the last 17 meetings in a rivalry that dates back to a pair of Georgia wins in Athens in 1915. State and Georgia split two games in their rain-shortened 1999 series in Athens, and since then have met once each of he past two years the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala. (2000 - UG 5-0, 2001 - MSU 8-4; 2002 - MSU 10-3). MSU has won 10 of 18 games played in Athens, including a three-game series sweep in 1997, the last time a Ron Polk-skippered MSU team visited Foley Field. Polk is 29-16 against Georgia, 26-16 while at Mississippi State (1978-1997, 2002) and 1-1 against Mississippi State during the his two-year term at Georgia (2000-2001).
Following this weekend's series in Athens, State entertains Southeastern Louisiana (May 13, 3 p.m.) and Winthrop (May 13-14, 6:30 p.m.) before closing out the 2003 regular season slate with a three-game series against SEC West rival Alabama.
SEC BASEBALL STANDINGS (5-8-03)
Team SEC Pct. All Pct.
THIS WEEKEND IN THE SEC
All games times Central Daylight Savings Time