#25 Diamond Dogs Battle #5 Gators In Gainesville

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Photo Courtesy of Bill Simmonds

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Nearly a year ago Mississippi State traveled to Gainesville, Fla., and came within a matter of outs of claiming an NCAA Super Regional and securing a berth in the 2011 NCAA College World Series.

The Bulldogs (30-18/12-12 SEC), back in the national polls with a No. 25 ranking, are back at UF's McKethan Stadium this weekend, closing out their 2012 SEC road schedule with a three-game series against the fifth-ranked Florida Gators (36-13/14-10 SEC). The series opens Friday at 6 p.m. (CDT) with MSU junior right-hander Chris Stratton (9-0, 2.19) squaring off against Gator junior right-hander Hudson Randall (5-1, 3.53).

The radio broadcasts of all three games will be carried on the statewide MSU Baseball Radio Network. Subscription-based audio streaming this weekend will be available through HailStateTV at www.hailstate.com/hstvlive. Additionally, live HD video streams of all three MSU-UF contests will also be available to current HSTV subscribers (made possible by stream share from Florida).

State enters the weekend having won nine of its last 11 games and a five-year high three consecutive SEC series wins. The Bulldogs are tied for second in the SEC Western Division and tied for fifth in the overall league standings. MSU is in the hunt for its 28th advancement to the SEC Tournament, set May 22-27 in Hoover, Ala.

Stratton, one of three finalists for next Monday's C Spire/Ferriss Trophy and a candidate for the 2012 Golden Spikes Award, leads the SEC with nine wins and ranks second with a 2.19 earned run average. The Tupelo, Miss., product also stands tied for third in the NCAA with 101. He has registered seven quality starts and five wins in eight starts.

Florida rallied for an 8-6 win over State in the championship game of the NCAA Gainesville Super Regional last June and went on to take runner-up honors in the College World Series.

The series continues with a 6 p.m. (CDT) game Saturday and closes with a noon matchup Sunday.


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