STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State launches its 15-game, five-weekend Southeastern Conference home baseball schedule this weekend when the Bulldogs (12-9, 0-3 SEC) entertain SEC Eastern Division foe Georgia (8-13, 0-3 SEC) in a three-game series at Dudy Noble Field.
The series-opener is set for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch Friday and continues with a 2 p.m. matchup Saturday and a 1:30 p.m. contest Sunday.
The stadium ticket office opens two hours prior to each game. The radio broadcast of all three games will be carried on the 14-station MSU Baseball Radio Network, with live on-line audio and video streaming of the games available to subscribers of "Maroon to the Max", the premium extension of the MSU athletics web site (www.MStateAthletics.com/m2mlive).
A pair of freshman righthanders are tabbed for starting mound duty Friday and Saturday. Kendall Graveman (1-1, 4.98), who drew his first career start last Friday at No. 6 Florida, will open on the hill for State Friday, while Tupelo's Chris Stratton (2-2, 2.63), who picked up his second quality start of the year last Saturday in Gainesville, will open for MSU in the second game of the series. State has not named its Sunday starting pitcher. Georgia's all-righty pitching rotation features senior Jeff Walters (0-2, 9.58), junior Justin Grimm (1-2, 5.16) and sophomore Michael Palazzone (3-2, 9.15).
MSU's Bulldogs, after playing seven of their previous eight games away from home, returned to action at Dudy Noble Field Wednesday night, rallying for a 7-6 win over the Memphis Tigers. Senior outfielder Luke Adkins (.352) tied a school record with a pair of triples and Jet Butler, Jonathan Ogden and Russ Sneed belted solo home runs to power the Bulldogs. It was the 12th win in the last 13 meetings with the Tigers and State's 50th overall in the series.
Bulldog senior first baseman Connor Powers (.413) joined MSU's career top 10 in RBI with a first-inning RBI single. With his 172nd career run batted in Wednesday, Powers, who paces the SEC in both home runs (8) and RBI (33), tied Brad Winkler (1980-83) for 10th place among State's career RBI leaders.
Both teams enter the series seeking a first conference win as opening weekend of league play last weekend was kind to neither club.
State dropped a three-game series at No. 6 Florida (2-7, 4-5, 1-4) while UGA dropped all three games of a home series at Foley Field to visiting Auburn (3-20, 3-3, 3-19).