COLUMBIA, S.C. - Mississippi State (14-11, 2-4 SEC) tangles with its fifth ranked opponent of the season when the Bulldogs open a three-game SEC baseball series Friday against No. 12 South Carolina (20-5, 5-1 SEC). First pitch is set for 6 p.m. (CDT) at USC's new 6,400-seat Carolina Stadium.
State registered its first SEC series win last weekend at Dudy Noble Field, taking two of three games from another SEC East foe, Georgia.
Freshman right-hander Kendall Graveman (1-1, 6.20) will draw starting mound duty Friday opposite USC senior righty Blake Cooper (4-0, 3.32).
State has also designated freshman righty Chris Stratton (2-3, 3.48) for Saturday's 3 p.m. (CDT) start, with Sunday's starter to be announced.
The radio broadcast of all three games will be carried on the 14-station MSU Baseball Radio Network and available online on "Maroon to the Max" (https://www.MStateAthletics.com/m2mlive). The final two games of the series will be televised, Saturday (3 p.m. CDT) by SportSouth and Sunday (1 p.m. CDT) on ESPNU.
South Carolina, currently leading the SEC Eastern Division, holds a 28-24 all-time lead in the series that got its start in the 1981 NCAA College World Series. The Bulldogs took two of three games from the Gamecocks last year in Starkville (13-6, 10-3, 4-5), but USC has reeled off four straight series wins in Columbia.
Bulldog first baseman Connor Powers opens the weekend with a league-best 38 RBI. After belting home ninth home run and a triple in a midweek meeting with Ole Miss, the Naperville, Ill., product also leads the league with a .763 slugging percentage, is tied for third with nine home runs, is fifth with a .398 batting average, and sixth in both hits (37) and on-base percentage (.509).