State will also be the designated visiting team for a 6:30 p.m. Wednesday meeting with Louisiana-Monroe (10-8). State later battles in-state SEC rival Mississippi April 13 in the 25th Entergy Mayor's Trophy Game.
Mississippi State is coming off a 3-2 week that featured a pair of close wins over defending Sun Belt Conference champ South Alabama (4-2, 3-2) and a 1-2 showing in the fourth annual National Bank of Commerce Classic against Pac-10 Conference power Southern Cal. State pitching held USC to eight runs and a .247 batting average over the weekend. But the Bulldogs, who played error-free defense, came up short in clutch hitting situations, stranding 28 baserunners over the weekend.
MSU junior relief pitcher Saunders Ramsey enjoyed a career week out of the pen, earning his first career win and a pair of saves in three game-closing performances. The Starkville, Miss., product struck out four of the six batters he faced to get the win against South Alabama Tuesday and picked up the pitching staff's first save with 1-2/3 innings of shutout relief work against the Jags Wednesday. Ramsey capped the week with a season-longest three-innings of no-hit pitching for a save in State's 4-1 Sunday win over Southern Cal. In three appearances Ramsey struck out nine and did not allow a run or a hit in 6-1/3 innings of pitching.
Junior lefty Eric Ebers (1-0, 2.84) of Steeleville, Ill., is slated to make his second start of the season Tuesday against Louisiana Tech. He earned a win in his Mississippi State debut Feb. 28, a 4-1/3 inning relief effort against Illinois.
Tech is expected to start junior right-hander Mitch Tucker (1-2, 6.17).
Sophomore catcher Craig Tatum (.395) paces the Bulldogs at the plate, with freshman second baseman Jeffrey Rea (.375) right behind and riding a team-leading 10-game hitting streak. Sophomore rightfielder Brad Corley (.367) leads the club in both hits (18) and RBI (15), while freshman designated hitter Brian LaNinfa (.281), with four home runs in his first five games, sets the team pace in home runs.
The Bulldogs return to Dudy Noble Field this weekend to launch SEC competition. State hosts 19th-ranked SEC East foe Tennessee (16-2) in a three-game set that begins with a 6:30 p.m. game.