MSU to Face UAB Tuesday at 7 p.m.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State puts the finishing touches on its 2002 non-conference baseball schedule and wraps up a run of five straight games in neighboring Alabama with a pair of midweek games in Birmingham. The Diamond Dogs (28-22-1) take on the UAB Blazers (15-37) Tuesday in a 7 p.m. game at Young Memorial Field. State then battles coach Tm Parenton's Samford Bulldogs (24-28) Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Joe Lee Griffin Field.

Sophomore right-hander Jeff Lacher (1-2, 5.79) is MSU's designated starting pitcher against the Blazers while UAB will open with senior right-hander Ross Dobbins (3-4, 8.01), a 10-game starter this season.

State opened its 2002 campaign Feb. 22 with a 4-2 win over the Blazers in the second annual NBC Classic at Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs later registered an 8-3 win over UAB Apr. 23 in Starkville.

Sophomore outfielder/third baseman Steve Gendron leads the Bulldogs with a .351 batting average. But the team's hottest hitter entering the week is junior shortstop Matthew Maniscalco (.297), who went 9-for-15 in last weekend's three-game series at SEC-leading Alabama. The Oxford, Ala., product recorded a career-best and team season-best 5-for-5 plate performance in the Saturday MSU-UA game.

Mississippi State returns to action at Dudy Noble Field Friday at 6:30 p.m., playing host to instate SEC rival Mississippi. The three-game series wraps up the regular season schedules for both clubs, currently in a down-to-the-wire battle for one of three remaining berths in next week's SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.

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