Mississippi State, Ole Miss meet in crucial SEC series in Starkville

Published 4:00 am Friday, April 14, 2023

Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State is always a big series for fans. For both schools’ baseball teams, their showdown this weekend in Starkville might also be the biggest of the season.

The Rebels and Bulldogs are languishing near the bottom of the Southeastern Conference standings approaching the halfway point of the season. There is still time to make up ground, but it’s quickly running out. The outcome of this series could offer hope for one and be a devastating blow for another.

“It should be a fun weekend,” Mississippi State coach Chris Lemonis said. “I like how we’re playing, and we’ve still got to get better. I think that’s the biggest thing with us.”

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Mississippi State (20-14, 3-9 SEC), surprisingly, is the team coming into this series with some momentum. The Bulldogs set a school record by losing 18 consecutive SEC games, but won their first conference series of the season by taking two of three from Alabama last weekend.

Mississippi State added a 7-3 midweek victory over UAB on Tuesday, and has won five of its last seven games overall. It has hit 18 home runs in that span, and 10 in the last four games.

Ole Miss (19-14, 2-10), meanwhile, is desperately trying to gain some traction. The defending national champions have yet to win an SEC series, and lost two of three at home to Arkansas last weekend.

The Rebels also lost a midweek game to Memphis on Tuesday, 11-9, by blowing a two-run lead in the ninth inning. They bounced back to beat Alcorn State 13-4 on Wednesday.

A series with No. 1 LSU looms next weekend, so picking up a few wins against Mississippi State is cruical.

“I challenged them to not fall into the woe is me, bad luck, we hit some balls even in the ninth inning where they made some nice plays … that’s what the losing team says a lot of times,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said after a 6-4 loss to Arkansas in last weekend’s series finale.

• Friday, 6 p.m. (Streaming: SEC Network+)
• Saturday, 3 p.m. (TV: SEC Network)
• Sunday, 1 p.m. (Streaming: SEC Network+)
• Radio: 107.7 FM (Ole Miss) and 105.5 FM (MSU)

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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