Diamond Dogs open two-game set with UNO

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Fresh from a season-first SEC series win at Kentucky, Mississippi State's Baseball team tackle a five-game slate this week beginning with Tuesday's midweek series-opener against the University of New Orleans. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. in what will be the first week night game of the season at Dudy Noble Field. The two teams meet again in a get-away-day game Wednesday at 3 p.m. Both games can be heard locally on WFCA-FM 107.9, the flagship station of MSU athletics.

Mississippi State (12-7-1, 1-2 SEC) hammered out a season-high 19 hits Sunday afternoon in posting a series-clinching 13-3 win at Kentucky. The win gave Bulldog skipper Ron Polk his 900th coaching victory in 23 seasons at Mississippi State. State split a weather-created Saturday doubleheader, with sophomore lefty Paul Maholm (4-1, 2.52) going the distance in a 4-2 Bulldog win and the Wildcats rallying for an 8-7 win in the nightcap.

State hit at a .339 clip for the weekend, piling up 40 hits, including 15 doubles and four home runs. Eight of the nine starters in the Bulldog batting order had extra-base hits, with senior center fielder Casey Long hitting .583 and driving in a team-high five runs.

The UNO Privateers (14-9, 1-2 Sun Belt Conference) have won eight of their last 10 games, including a 4-2 win at Louisiana-Lafayette in the final game of a conference-opening weekend road series. The UNO roster features one Mississippian, former Starkville High School standout Mark Monaghan, the Privateers' senior second baseman.

Bulldog junior righty Jacob Blakeney (0-1, 7.20) is slated to make his second start in his sixth appearance this season. Privateers senior righty Mark Stander (1-2, 5.59) will make his sixth start in as many appearances for UNO.

Following the UNO series, Mississippi State resumes SEC play on the road, traveling to Baton Rouge, La., for a three-game SEC series with Louisiana State (15-11, 2-4 SEC). Weekend game times at LSU's Alex Box Stadium are 6:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 1 p.m.

Mississippi State holds a 36-20 leads in its baseball series with the University of New Orleans, dating back to a three-game series in Starkville against then-LSUNO. State claimed the first eight meetings in the series and six of the last seven meetings, including a milestone 6-5 come-from-behind win last March 13 at Privateer Park (MSU's 2000th baseball win). Two other scheduled MSU-UNO games last year were weathered out - a Feb. 16 season-opener in the inaugural NBC Classic at Dudy Noble Field and a second mid-March meeting in New Orleans.

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