ATHENS — Ho-hum. Another weekend, another Top 10 matchup for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Your SEC-leading Bulldogs (33-9, 13-5 SEC), ranked No. 4 in most college baseball polls, battle No. 9-ranked Mississippi State (33-9, 10-8) in Starkville, Miss. Not only are the “Maroon Dogs” the league’s best-hitting club, but they play in 13,000-seat Dudy Noble Field, which is considered one of college baseball’s toughest venues.
“Your always fighting from every angle over there,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said. “The crowd really gets into it over there. That’s why it’s so important to stop their momentum. Once they get going that and the crowd gets going, it can be tough. That’s the way it’s been at Foley Field this year and we know how our players feed off the energy. So we’ve got to get lead-off hitters out and keep rallies from starting.”
- TV: Tonight — 7:30 p.m, SECN-plus; Saturday — 1 p.m., SEC Network; Sunday — 2 p.m., SECN-plus
- Radio: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network (David Johnston & Jeff Dantzler)
- Stations: 960 AM-WRFC (check your local listings), Georgia Bulldogs app, TuneIn app.
Georgia will face MSU’s power-packed lineup with one arm tied behind its back. Sophomore Emerson Hancock, the Bulldogs’ Friday night starter and one of the nation’s top pitchers, is being held out of this weekend’s three-game series for precautionary reasons due to arm soreness. Sophomore left-hander C.J. Smith (3-2, 3.05 ERA), normally the Saturday starter, will move up to take the mound in tonight’s 7:30 p.m. first game.
The Friday and Sunday games will be streamed on SEC Network-plus, while Saturday’s 1 p.m. game will be the SEC Network’s featured national broadcast. Right-hander Tony Locey (7-0) will get the call and Georgia is officially TBD on its Sunday starter.
It should be a great test for the Bulldogs, who as of now are eyeing a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Mississippi State made it to the Final Four in the College World Series last year.
“They’ve got all that experience of going to Omaha last year,” Stricklin said. “A lot of those guys were freshmen last year. So they’ve got experience and talent and those 13,000 fans behind them. It’s going to be a raucous environment.”