No. 15 Diamond Dawgs Host Two Midweek Games At Dudy Noble
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Coming off its first series sweep against a Top-10 team since 2012, the No. 15 Mississippi State baseball team (12-3-1) returns to action this week for two midweek games at Dudy Noble Field. The Diamond Dawgs host Eastern Kentucky (7-8) Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., followed by a 6:30 p.m. matchup Wednesday against Oral Roberts (7-7).
State is coming off a three-game sweep against then No. 10 Oregon at The Dude this past weekend (10-4, 9-3, 5-2), while EKU was swept at home versus Southeast Missouri State (1-2, 3-7, 1-4). Oral Roberts went 1-2 over the weekend at Auburn (8-7, 1-10, 11-18) and play at Jacksonville State Tuesday before traveling to Starkville.
The Maroon and White are 4-0 all-time against EKU and are playing the Colonels for the first time since current MSU skipper John Cohen led the Bulldogs to a three-game sweep against EKU from May 19-21, 1989 (15-4 in Jackson, 8-4 in Starkville, 6-2 in Starkville).
Cohen’s club is 1-0 all-time against ORU, picking up a 3-2 victory on May 14, 2013 at Dudy Noble Field. Junior center fielder Jacob Robson is the only current Bulldog to have played against the Golden Eagles, driving in one of the three MSU runs that day.
Need To Know
- Sophomore slugger Brent Rooker enters the midweek as the reigning SEC Player of the Week after hitting .583 with a 1.167 slugging percentage the last four games.
- True freshman left-hander Konnor Pilkington (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is scheduled to make his first career start Tuesday versus Eastern Kentucky senior right-hander Chris Cervantes (0-0, 8.10 ERA).
- MSU and Oral Roberts have not announced starters for Wednesday.
- In the latest rankings released March 14, MSU was voted 15th by the Coaches, D1 Baseball, Baseball America and Perfect Game, as well as 13th by Collegiate Baseball and 14th by the NCBWA.
- As of March 14, Mississippi State’s offense ranks second in doubles (43), seventh in on-base percentage (.423), 17th in average (.320), 23rd in hits (173), 24th in slugging percentage (.483) 26th in walks (79), 29th in triples (6) and 30th in runs scored (118).
- On the mound, Wes Johnson’s staff ranks eighth in the NCAA in strikeouts per nine innings (10.1), ninth in shutouts (3) and 24th in fewest hits allowed per nine innings (7.21)
- Defensively, MSU is 25th nationally with a .980 fielding percentage.
- Individually, Robson ranks sixth in the NCAA with 18 walks, 22nd with nine stolen bases and 30th with a .542 OBP.
- Robson enters the midweek with a career-long 11-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in a career-best 17 straight games dating back to last season.
- Junior designated hitter Jack Kruger is eighth in the country with nine doubles.
- Kruger has reached base safely in all 16 games this spring.
- Junior right-hander Dakota Hudson ranks 26th nationally with 32 strikeouts.
- This past weekend against Oregon, sophomore infielder Ryan Gridley hit .600 (6 for 10) with four runs scored.
- Junior Nathaniel Lowe enters the midweek riding a career-long six-game hitting streak.
- All 17 pitchers who have appeared in a game this season have thrown at least one pitch 90 mph.
- After hitting .243 with two outs in 2015, the 2016 Diamond Dawgs are raking at a .341 clip with two outs this spring.
- Mississippi State’s starting pitching has recorded a 0.87 ERA the past four games.
- MSU is 12-0 when holding a lead after six innings, 6-0-1 when scoring in the first inning and 8-0 when scoring first overall.
- The Diamond Dawgs have outscored their opponents 36-8 in the first two innings combined so far this spring.
- The Maroon and White are a perfect 6 for 6 in save opportunities this season after going 9 for 15 last year.
Tuesday’s Forecast (March 15) – High 86, Low 55 – Sunny (0%)
Wednesday’s Forecast (March 16) – High 77, Low 50 – Sunny (0%)
Live Video and Television
Both games will be available on SEC Network + via the WatchESPN app.
Live Audio and Radio
Both games will be available locally on WKBB 100.9 FM. The contest will also be audio streamed live online at HailState.com/Plus (requires subscription).
Tickets are still available and can be purchased at HailState.com/tickets or at the MSU ticket office behind home plate, which opens two hours before first pitch every game.