Diamond Dogs Host Delta Devils

STARKVILLE, Miss. - After opening the season with a 2-0 showing against Eastern Illinois last weekend, the Mississippi State Bulldogs continue their season-opening home stand Tuesday afternoon playing host to instate non-conference foe Mississippi Valley State. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Dudy Noble Field.

Junior southpaw Brooks Dunn, who saw his scheduled seasonal debut on the mound rained out Sunday, will draw starting duties for the Diamond Dogs Tuesday. The Birmingham, Ala., native fashioned a 3-0 record with two saves and a 4.25 earned run average in 2004. Dunn will be making his third career start and his 32nd career appearance on the mound for State.

The Delta Devils (3-7), guided by fifth-year head coach Doug Shanks, successfully opened defense of their SWAC Eastern Division crown over the weekend, claiming a three-game league series at Alabama A&M.

The Bulldog bats came alive for 20 hits Saturday as Mississippi State powered past Eastern Illinois 16-6. Sophomore second baseman Jeffrey Rea singled in each of his first five at-bats and drew a walk in his final plate appearance. The Nettleton, Miss., product owns the early team and SEC lead with a .625 batting average. Junior outfielder Jeff Butts went 4-for-7 with three doubles and sports a .571 batting average. Butts, junior first baseman Brad Jones, freshman shortstop Bunky Kateon and junior outfielder Brad Corley hit safely in the first two games. Including last year's season-ending 14-game hitting streak, Corley now sports a 16-game hitting streak over two seasons.

Mississippi State, ranked 19th in the latest Collegiate Baseball magazine ranking, continues play at Dudy Noble Field this weekend when the Bulldogs welcome first-time foe Austin Peay of the Ohio Valley Conference and Kansas of the Big 12 Conference for the fifth annual National Bank of Commerce Classic. The APSU Governors and the Kansas Jayhawks square off at 11 a.m. in Friday's tournament opener, while the Bulldogs test Austin Peay at 3 p.m.

For the fourth consecutive season Mississippi State has surpassed the 5,000 mark in baseball season ticket sales. The MSU Athletic Ticket Office reported Monday it has processed orders for 5,011 baseball season tickets, with ticket sales continuing. Mississippi State's baseball season ticket sales count ended at 5,477 last year, just short of the school-record mark of 5,596 in 2002.

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