Both Mississippi State and Auburn are in the thick of things in the crowded SEC West standings. Two games separate early front-runner Alabama and defending SEC champ Arkansas, with the other four divisional teams jammed in between.
After opening the conference season with 2-1 series wins over a pair of ranked foes - No. 17 Vanderbilt and at No. 5 Arkansas - State dropped a pair of 2-1 decisions last weekend at Tennessee, where the weekend series was condensed by rain into two seven-inning contests.
Auburn, 21-11 overall and 5-4 in SEC, has climbed into the national rankings to as high as No. 16 (Collegiate Baseball) after topping LSU in Baton Rouge and Arkansas at home over the past two weekends. It¹s the first visit to Dudy Noble Field and first meeting with Mississippi State as a head coach for Auburn's first-year skipper Tom Slater.
Junior outfielder Joseph Hunter (.376) continues to pace the Bulldogs at the plate. The Germantown, Tenn., product ended his career-longest 18-game hitting streak with an 0-for-2 plate performance in the first of two seven-inning Sunday games last weekend at Tennessee. Hunter then smacked his first home run of the year, a three-run blast and matched a career-high with four RBI in State's 14-5 win over Samford Tuesday night in Jackson. Freshman shortstop Bunky Kateon also delivered a career-first roundtripper.
Sophomore righty Jon Crosby (4-1), MSU's scheduled Sunday starter against Auburn, picked up the win against Samford with four innings of work. The first of five MSU pitchers in the game, Crosby allowed just one base-runner after the first inning. The win at Jackson's Smith-Wills Stadium snapped a four-game MSU losing skid.
The radio broadcast of the weekend series game can be heard on the statewide MSU Baseball Radio Network and on the Internet with links on the official website of MSU Athletics - www.MStateAthletics.com. It is also available as a live internet webcast on the MSU web site on the subscriber-based "Maroon to the Max".
MSU/AUBURN WEEKEND PITCHING MATCHUPS