Diamond Dogs host Birmingham-Southern

STARKVILLE, Miss. - No. 24 Mississippi State faces its second consecutive ranked opponent when the Bulldogs (13-4) take on the Birmingham-Southern Panthers (15-5) in a 6:30 p.m. battle Tuesday at Dudy Noble Field.

Birmingham-Southern, coached by former MSU assistant coach Brian Shoop, is riding a 15-game winning streak and ranked 30th in the latest rankings by Tucson-based Collegiate Baseball.

The Baseball Bulldogs posted a 2-1 win over No. 19 Tennessee Sunday to snap the Vols' SEC-leading 15-game winning streak. UT clinched the SEC season-opening series with 9-4 and 8-3 wins on Friday and Saturday.

Shoop, a member of Ron Polk's MSU coaching staff from 1983 to 1989, is 590-254-1 in 15 seasons as head coach at Birmingham-Southern. MSU owns a 32-9 series lead against BSC, but the Panthers have claimed wins in the last two meetings, including a 4-1 setback in State's 2003 season opener in the NBC Classic. The game also reunites Shoop with MSU assistant coach Daron Schoenrock, who served on the BSC staff from 1990-97.

Junior lefty Eric Ebers (2-0, 1.83) will draw his third start of the year Tuesday night and will be matched with junior lefty Wes Letson (2-1, 4.65).

Bulldog sophomore catcher Craig Tatum (.379) had a hit in each of the Tennessee games last weekend to extend his current hitting streak to 10 games. Sophomore first baseman Brad Jones (.370) hit at a team-best .444 clip over the past week, while senior infielder and team co-captain Steve Gendron (.338) climbed into MSU's career top 10 in hits with a five-hit weekend against Tennessee. Gendron, now with 261 career hits, has hit safely in his last eight games.

The Panthers are paced at the plate by senior outfielder Matt Bogue (.411), a former prep standout at New Hope (Miss.) High School.

State closes out its season-opening run of 19 straight instate games Wednesday, hosting the Samford Bulldogs at 6:30 p.m. The Bulldogs then hit the road for a three-game series against top-ranked LSU (18-3) this weekend in Baton Rouge, La.

Tuesday, March 23 --- No. 30 Birmingham-Southern (6:30 p.m.)
Wednesday, March 24 --- Samford (6:30 p.m.)
Friday, Mar. 26 --- at No. 1 Louisiana State (6:30 p.m.)
Saturday, Mar. 27 --- at No. 1 Louisiana State (2:00 p.m.)
Sunday, Mar. 28 --- at No. 1 Louisiana State (1:00 p.m.)

Gene's Page Top Stories