MSU-Auburn Baseball Series Preview

Mississippi State and Auburn tangle in a three-game Southeastern Conference series this weekend at Mississippi State.

Weather - Friday - Temperatures should be in the low 50s to high 40s. There is a 5% chance of rain. | Saturday - The temperatures should be in the low 50s during the game and there is a 0% chance of rain. | Sunday - Temperatures should be in the high 60s with a 0% chance of rain.

Gametimes (CDT) - Friday 6:30 p.m. | Saturday 2:00 p.m. | Sunday 1:30 p.m.

Coaches - This is Sunny Golloway's second season at Auburn. During his first season, his team was 28-28 overall and 10-20 in SEC action.

John Cohen, who is entering his seventh season as the head coach at Mississippi State, has an overall record of 216-155 and a 79-100 record in SEC play. His 2011, 2012 and 2013 teams appeared in regionals with his 2011 team advancing to a Super Regional and his 2013 team advancing to the College World Series where they were national runner-up. His teams overall NCAA postseason record is 12-8.

Auburn Road/Mississippi State Home Records - Auburn is 2-5 on the road while Mississippi State is 17-6 at home.

Expected Pitching Rotations - Auburn will start redshirt sophomore RHP Cole Lipscomb (3-0, 2.19 ERA) Friday, sophomore RHP Keegan Thompson (4-2, 4.10) Saturday and junior RHP Dalton Rentz (1-0, 3.43) Sunday.

Lipscomb will be starting his first SEC game. He has appeared in two SEC games this season as a reliever and performed well, throwing 4 innings while allowing 1 run for an ERA of 2.25.

Thompson has started two SEC games, allowing 8 earned runs in 13.2 innings for an SEC ERA of 5.26. He has a 1-1 record in SEC action.

Rentz will also be starting his first SEC game. Like Lipscomb, he has thrown in relief in two games, allowing 0 runs in 3.2 innings.

Mississippi State will start redshirt junior RHP Preston Brown (3-2, 3.77 ERA) Friday, sophomore RHP Austin Sexton (3-1, 3.09) Saturday and sophomore LHP Vance Tatum (3-0, 3.26) Sunday.

Brown, in SEC action, has started two games, allowing 8 runs in 7.2 innings for an SEC ERA of 9.39. Brown is 0-1 in SEC play.

Sexton has also started two SEC games. In his outings he has allowed 6 eanred runs in 14.1 innings which is an ERA of 3.77. Sexton has a 1-1 SEC record.

In Tatum's two SEC starts he has given up 9 earned runs in 16 innings for an ERA of 5.06. His SEC record is 1-0.

Relief Pitching - Auburn might use around four pitchers in relief, including junior RHP Trey Wingenter (1-2, 1 S, 3.68), redshirt junior RHP Justin Camp (1-0, 4 S, 1.59), senior RHP Bobby Clements (2-0, 0 S, 3.12), and senior RHP Jacob Milliman (0-0, 1 S, 5.79).

Wingenter has been moved to the bullpen after starting two games in the SEC. He gave up 7 earned runs in 9.2 innings which is an ERA of 6.49.

Camp is Auburn's closer. He has appeared in 2 SEC games, allowing 3 earned runs in 5 innings for an ERA of 5.40.

Clements has appeared in 3 SEC games, 1 in middle relief and 2 as a closer. He has allowed 3 earned runs in 5.1 innings for an ERA of 5.07.

Milliman has appeared in 2 SEC games. He has allowed 4 earned runs in 4 inning which is an ERA of 9.00.

Look for Mississippi State to mainly use five relief pitchers in primary roles - senior RHP Trevor Fitts (1-2, 4 Saves, 1.50 ERA), senior LHP Ross Mitchell (3-2, 0 S, 3.41), sophomore RHP Zac Houston (0-0, 0 S, 3.48), redshirt freshman Levi Mintz (0-0, 0 S, 1.04) and sophomore LHP Daniel Brown (1-0, 1 S, 3.77).

Fitts, MSU's closer, has appeared in 1 SEC game, giving up 1 run in 0 innings for an SEC ERA of 99.99. Due to arm issues, he didn't appear in any of the SEC games last weekend. But he is expected back this weekend.

Mitchell has been MSU's long middle relief pitcher. So far, in SEC games, he hasn't had much luck, giving up 5 earned runs in 3.2 innings in 3 games for an ERA of 12.27.

Houston has been used as a setup man. In 3 SEC games he has allowed 2 earned runs in 1.2 innings for an ERA of 10.80.

Mintz has appeared in 2 SEC games, giving up 1 earned run in 3 innings for an SEC ERA of 3.00.

Brown has also thrown in 2 SEC games. He has allowed 3 earned runs in 1.1 innings for an SEC ERA of 20.25.

Who's Hot at the Plate and Who's Not in SEC Games (have to have had at least 2 at bats per SEC games played) - For Auburn, junior Sam Gillikin leads the way with an SEC average of .385. Not far behind is sophomore Daniel Robert at .364. Sophomore Blake Logan comes in hitting .348. Also hitting above .300 in SEC action is sophomore Anfernee Grier who is batting .346 and junior Jordan Ebert at .304.

Others include sophomore Damon Haecker who is hitting .250, redshirt sophomore Kyler Reese who comes in hitting .214, junior Melvin Gray who is batting .167 and junior Cody Nulph who is hitting .077.

Mississippi State is led at the plate in SEC games by redshirt sophomore Jacob Robson who is hitting .500. Sophomore Reid Humphreys comes in hitting at a .409 clip, followed by senior Jake Vickerson at .364.

In limited play due to an injury, sophomore Gavin Collins is hitting .556.

Hitting at a .273 clip is redshirt sophomore Cody Brown, followed by junior John Holland who is hitting .200. Hitting .188 is junior Matt Spruill. Senior Seth Heck comes in at .120, followed by another senior, Wes Rea who comes in at a .118 average. Junior Josh Loveland is batting .071 in SEC action.

How Auburn and MSU Compare
Auburn Category Mississippi State
15-10 Record 18-9
.283 Batting Average .283
133 (5.3 pg) Runs 174 (6.4 pg)
10 Home Runs 13
.377 OB % .410
15-31 Stolen Bases-Attempts 31-40
101 (4.0 pg) Walks 155 (5.7 pg)
164 (6.6 pg) Strikeouts 149 (5.5 pg)
208 (8.3 pg) LOB 236 (8.7 pg)
3.80 Team ERA 3.70
8 Saves 6
105 (4.2 pg) Walks 93 (3.4 pg)
221 (8.8 pg) Strikeouts 218 (8.1 pg)
.254 Batting Average Against .247
.967 Fielding % .970

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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