STARKVILLE — The road to getting back to Hoover for Mississippi State baseball won’t be easy over the final two weeks of the season.
The Bulldogs haven’t won a Southeastern Conference series since beating Ole Miss over Super Bulldog Weekend. Since then, MSU has lost eight of nine conference games, including seven straight.
It takes that drought into one of the toughest environments in the conference for this weekend’s series at No. 2 LSU.
Here is what to know before this weekend’s series between MSU and LSU.
What: Mississippi State at No. 2 LSU
When: Friday (7:30 p.m.), Saturday (6 p.m.), Sunday (1 p.m.)
Where: Alex Box Stadium, Baton Rouge
TV: Friday (SECN), Saturday (SEC+), Sunday (SEC+)
Records/Rankings: MSU enters this weekend’s series with a record of (24-23, 6-18 SEC). The Bulldogs are unranked in this week’s D1Baseball.com Top 25 Poll. LSU enters this weekend’s series with a record of (38-10, 16-7 SEC). The Tigers dropped to No. 2 in this week’s D1Baseball.com Top 25 poll for the first time this season. MSU’s RPI currently sits at 58. LSU’s RPI currently sits at 3.
Series History: LSU swept MSU in last year’s series in Starkville. The Bulldogs won their last series in Baton Rouge, taking two of three games in 2021.
MSU Update: MSU had its midweek game against Memphis on Tuesday canceled after severe weather suspended the game for a two-hour delay, before eventually being called in the top of the third inning with the score tied at one. Dakota Jordan had hit an RBI double in the first inning to tie the game. The Bulldogs have lost their last three SEC series against Auburn, Tennessee and Arkansas, and have lost seven conference games in a row dating back to April 23.
LSU Update: The Tigers dropped from their No. 1 ranking for the first time this season after losing their first conference series last weekend at Auburn, which included a 12-2 run-rule defeat in Sunday’s rubber match. LSU followed that up with a 14-4 run-rule victory over Northwestern State on Tuesday. Tommy White tallied four RBIs for the Tigers in the win, while Hayden Travinski and Brayden Jobert added three each.
The Tigers lead the SEC in batting average (.313), slugging percentage (.566), on base percentage (.442), runs (465), RBIs (426) and doubles (94). LSU’s pitching staff has struck out the second-most batters in the SEC (519) and held opposing lineups to a .220 batting average.
Projected LSU lineup: 2B Gavin Dugas (.303/ 43 H/ 12 HR/ 38 RBI), LF Tre’ Morgan (.318/ 55 H/ 4 HR/ 32 RBI), CF Dylan Crews (.457/ 74 H/ 13 HR/ 53 RBI), 3B Tommy White (.382/ 66 H/ 17 HR/ 79 RBI), DH Cade Beloso (.308/ 32 H/ 9 HR/ 32 RBI), SS Jordan Thompson (.268/ 45 H/ 8 HR/ 39 RBI), 1B Jared Jones (.326/ 47 H/ 14 HR/ 45 RBI), RF Josh Pearson (.213/ 16 H/ 0 HR/ 13 RBI), C Alex Milazzo (.333/ 21 H/ 0 HR/ 14 RBI)
LSU players to watch: LSU boasts a pair of potential MLB Draft top three picks in Dylan Crews and Paul Skenes. Crews is second in college baseball with a .457 batting average and tied for 32nd in hits (74). A 2022 Consensus First-Team All-American, Crews has only two hits over his last four games, but is as dangerous as any hitter in an LSU lineup full of them. On the mound, Skenes, an Air Force transfer, holds a 1.73 ERA over 72 2/3 innings. In his last start against Auburn, Skenes pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing six hits and striking out 15. He has recorded double-digit strikeouts in 10 of his 12 starts this season.
Justin Frommer is the Mississippi State sports reporter for The Dispatch.
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