Texas Tech and MSU Square Off Today

ATLANTA, Ga. - Mississippi State begins its second season of baseball this afternoon in Atlanta, taking on Big 12 Conference power Texas Tech in the opening round of the 2004 Atlanta Regional. First pitch for the opening game of the four-team, double-elimination postseason event is set for 3 p.m. (ET) at Georgia Tech's Russ Chandler Stadium. Top-seeded tourney host Georgia Tech meets No. 4 seed Jacksonville (Ala.) State at 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs (34-22), who finished the 2004 regular season with wins in six of their last seven games, are playing for the first time since registering a three-game SEC series sweep at Alabama May 21-23. It will be MSU's first baseball meeting with Texas Tech (38-19), which dropped its two games last week in the Big 12 Tournament in Arlington, Texas.

Mississippi State will open on the mound with junior righty Alan Johnson (3-3, 5.45) while the Red Raiders have tabbed senior southpaw Dallas Braden (5-4, 4.40) for starting duties.

MSU is playing in its 27th NCAA postseason tournament and its eighth NCAA regional in the past nine seasons.

Friday's tournament opener matches two of college baseball's winningest coaches, Mississippi State's Ron Polk (1,232-601-2) and Red Raider head coach Larry Hayes (1,389-750-3). Hayes stands fifth among the NCAA's winningest active college coaches while Polk is 12th. The Bulldog skipper is two wins away from his 1,000th win in 25 seasons at Mississippi State.

The tournament continues Saturday with a loser's bracket game at 11 a.m. ET and a winner's bracket game at 3 p.m.

MSU's games are being broadcast on the statewide MSU Baseball Radio Network and on the internet (www.MStateAthletics.com).

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