Diamond Dogs in Jackson, MS. Tuesday and Wednesday

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State puts the finishing touches on a season-longest nine-game road run this week, taking on a pair of non-conference foes from neighboring Alabama in the Entergy College Baseball Series at Jackson's Smith-Wills Stadium.

The Diamond Dogs (17-7, 4-4 SEC) take on the Samford University Bulldogs (7-18) from the Ohio Valley Conference Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and then test the defending Big South Conference champion Birmingham-Southern Panthers (19-9) Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

Sophomore righthander Jon Crosby (3-1, 3.15) of Germantown, Tenn., who missed a start in last weekend's rain-shortened SEC series at Tennessee, will make his third start of the campaign for State. Samford, coached by first-year head coach and former Auburn standout Casey Dunn, is expected to open with junior righthander Scott Kubina (1-0, 8.74).

Another Bulldog hurler from Germantown, freshman John Lalor (2-0, 0.82) is expected to draw his second career start in Wednesday's matchup with BSC. The Panthers, coached by former MSU assistant Brian Shoop, have designated sophomore ace righthander Brandon Hynick (5-1, 1.69) for a Wednesday night start.

MSU is eager to halt a season-longest four-game losing skid that includes a pair of one-run losses in seven-inning Sunday games at Tennessee.

"We pitched well enough to win one or both of those games, but we just didn't get the clutch hits when we needed them," said coach Ron Polk. State stranded 16 base runners in 14 innings.

MSU junior outfielder Joseph Hunter (.378) of Germantown, Tenn., continues to pace the Bulldogs at the plate, though his career-longest 18-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-2 outing in Sunday's first game in Knoxville.

MSU returns to action at Dudy Noble Field this weekend, entertaining the Auburn Tigers in a three-game SEC Western Division series. The series opens Friday with a 6:30 p.m. game. Saturday's 3 p.m. matchup will be televised live regionally on FOX Sports Net South as the SEC-TV Game of the Week, while Sunday's 1:30 p.m. series finale draws the curtains on MSU's Super Bulldog Weekend "spring homecoming" activities on campus.

The radio broadcast of all five of this week's games will be carried on the statewide MSU Baseball Radio Network and linked on the Internet at www.MStateAthletics.com.

DIAMOND DOG NOTES: A pair of former Diamond Dogs are included on Major League Baseball's opening day 25-man rosters - first baseman Rafael Palmeiro with the Baltimore Orioles and pitcher Matt Ginter, recently traded to the Detroit Tigers. Two other MSU baseball alums are on the 40-player rosters but are currently inactive - outfielder Jon Knott with the San Diego Padres and pitcher Eric DuBose with the Baltimore Orioles ... Mississippi State is ranked 24th in the latest Collegiate Baseball newspaper rankings. State's 0-3 showing last week caused the Bulldogs to drop out of both the Baseball America poll and the Baseball Weekly/ESPN coaches poll. Still to be announced is this week's NCBWA writers poll, which ranked State at a season-highest 13th last week.

This Week's MSU Baseball Schedule

  • Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. - vs. Samford (Smith-Wills Stadium, Jackson)
  • Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. - vs. Birmingham-Southern (Smith-Wills Stadium, Jackson)
  • Friday, 6:30 p.m. - Auburn (Dudy Noble Field)
  • Saturday, 3:00 p.m. - Auburn (Dudy Noble Field ‹ SEC-TV)
  • Sunday, 1:30 p.m. - Auburn (Dudy Noble Field)

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