UM-MSU set to meet in Pearl tonight

The annual midweek contest between Ole Miss (25-13) and Mississippi State (23-8) has changed names and locations, but the No. 19 Rebels hope to keep their recent domination of the No. 15 Bulldogs going Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a game televised by Comcast Sports Southeast.

"We've joked for years that we could be playing Mississippi State in checkers and sellout the stadium," head coach Mike Bianco said. "It breaks up the monotony of the midweek by playing a good team that is having a great year."

Ole Miss has taken five straight Mayor's Trophy games and five of the past six weekend meetings over its in-state rival. The event will now be known as the Governor's Cup and be played in Pearl after 27 years of being held at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson.

Mississippi State leads the overall series with Ole Miss 222-189-5, but Ole Miss clawed back to win the overall Mayor's Trophy head-to-head 14-13. Bianco is a successful 5-1 against State in the midweek.

The two SEC schools should display a contrast of styles as Mississippi State features a league-leading .339 team batting average, while the Rebels boast a .980 fielding percentage and a 3.13 team ERA, good for first and second in the conference respectively.

The Rebels are sending senior Craig Rodriguez (1-2, 4.26) to the hill where he will be opposed by State true freshman Tyler Whitney (3-1, 6.91). Rodriguez began the year in the bullpen before drawing a weekend start at Auburn. He will be making his 15th appearance and second start of the season.

"It is a big game for the state," Rodriguez said. "I am just going to go out there and do what I have always done and if it comes out good, great. Hopefully, we can get something rolling after that."

Ole Miss is attempting to build off a Sunday salvage at LSU and move past a recent three-game losing streak.

MSU has had trouble playing at all with three of its past five games being rainouts. State did win the past week's Friday game against Tennessee before the final two were washed away.

Ole Miss and MSU's annual weekend three-game series is in Oxford April 27-29.

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