The No. 21 Bulldogs (7-1-1) registered their first shutout of the year Wednesday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field, blanking Jackson State 9-0 and extending their current win streak to six games. The LMU Lions (5-12) are entering the midway point of a rugged eight-game road run that included contests at Pac-Ten Conference powers Arizona State and UCLA. The Bruins fended off a late charge by LMU to register a narrow 10-9 win Tuesday afternoon at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium. It was the fourth consecutive loss and eighth in nine games for LMU, which has played nine games against ranked teams already this year.
Bulldog sophomore lefthander Paul Maholm (1-1, 3.38) has drawn starting duties opposite LMU right-hander Kyle Huddy (1-0, 4.05) in Friday's opener. Senior righty Tanner Brock (2-0, 0.69) is slated to start Saturday and junior southpaw Joey Collums (1-0, 2.25) is MSU's Sunday starter on the final weekend before the start of the 10-weekend, 30-game Southeastern Conference schedule. State entertains South Carolina on SEC opening weekend Mar. 15-18.
Friday's meeting will be the first between the Bulldogs and the Lions and LMU's first crossing of the Mississippi River for baseball. Loyola Marymount is 2-1 in previous games, all in NCAA postseason play against current SEC teams (LMU 4, LSU 3 in the 1986 CWS; LMU 8, Arkansas 3 in the 1988 Midwest Regional; and Alabama 13, LMU 5 in the 1998 West Regional).
The Diamond Dogs struck for six second-inning runs and six Bulldog pitchers combined for a six-hit shutout as Mississippi State blanked Jackson State 9-0 at Dudy Noble Field.
State, with a season-low five hits, took advantage of control problems by six Tiger pitchers, who walked 13, struck three batters and tossed three wild pitches. Steve Gendron and Casey Long delivered two-run hits in the second inning and Long added a sacrifice fly an inning later to match his career-high with three RBI.
Jeff Lacher started and worked three innings for the Diamond Dogs. Chris Young (2-0), the fifth of six MSU pitchers in the game, struck out four of the seven batters he faced in the seventh and eighth innings to earn the win.
Loyola Marymount erased an 8-1 deficit against cross-town rival UCLA Tuesday afternoon but came up just short in a 10-9 loss. Leftfielder Kris Zacuto lashed a three-run double to highlight a seven-run sixth-inning burst that tied the game at 8-8. Zacuto doubled twice on a 2-for-3 afternoon and scored three runs to pace LMU at the plate. The Bruins plated six runs on four home runs and two more on bases-loaded walks.
Shortstop Billy Lockin (.328, 5-SB), leftfielder Kris Zacuto (.324, 8-2B, 14-RBI) and first baseman Tommy Perez (.262, 3-HR, 13-RBI) lead the Lions at the plate.