'Dogs Take on the Indians Tuesday Night at 6:30

STARKVILLE, Miss. - After winning its third Southeastern Conference baseball series in four weekends of SEC competition, No. 21 Mississippi State (20-8) steps away from league play this week for a pair of non-conference weeknight battles at Dudy Noble Field. The Diamond Dogs take on the Louisiana-Monroe Indians (17-15) Tuesday and the Samford Bulldogs (9-20) Wednesday, with both contests set for 6:30 p.m. starts.

Mississippi State sends true freshman John Lalor (0.82) of Germantown, Tenn., to the hill for his second career start and fourth collegiate appearance in Tuesday's meeting with ULM. The lanky righthander has registered 19 strikeouts with but one walk and one run (earned) allowed in 19.0 innings. The Indians will counter with junior right-handed pitcher Steve Lawler. Lawler (1-1, 4.09), who has also drawn seven starts at shortstop for ULM, has been the starting pitcher in two of his nine previous mound appearances.

A sterling career-first complete-game shutout pitching performance by sophomore righthander Jon Crosby Sunday helped Mississippi State clinch its series against the 16th-ranked Auburn Tigers.

On the weekend State sandwiched impressive 4-1 and 4-0 wins around an 8-7 loss in a game that saw MSU battle back into contention after falling behind 7-0. Senior Alan Johnson pitched eight strong innings and junior relief man Brett Cleveland earned his first save of the campaign in MSU's series-opening 4-1 win over the Tigers. State also got a career-best five-inning, two-hit shutout relief pitching performance from freshman lefty Justin Pigott.

The Super Bulldog Weekend series drew a season-best paid attendance of 25,171, including 10,958 on Saturday, the 11th-largest attendance in Dudy Noble Field history.

The Indians dropped two of three games at home last weekend to Southland Conference foe Lamar. James Bennett (.333) paces the Indians in extra-base hits (16), triples (5), home runs (7), RBI (24), walks (21) and slugging percentage (.625).

Bulldog juniors Brad Jones (.290) and Thomas Berkery (.333) paced State at the plate in last weekend's series against Auburn. Jones had five hits and hit .455 for the weekend while Berkery laced five hits and with three runs batted in raised his team-leading RBI total to 26.

The 3-1 showing on the diamond last week helped boost the Bulldogs in the latest rankings for college baseball. MSU climbed to 21st (NCBWA), 22nd (Collegiate Baseball) and 24th (Baseball Weekly/ESPN and baseball America) this week.

Mississippi State closes out its five-game home stand Wednesday against Samford, with senior lefty Eric Ebers (0-0, 5.00) due to draw his first start of the season.

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