State took the opening game of last weekend's three-game series against Central Arkansas, 4-2, but saw its 17-game winning streak, second-longest in school history, come to a close with a 7-5 extra innings loss to the Bears Saturday before absorbing a 7-3 setback in Sunday's series finale.
The Bulldogs claimed a 5-0 win over USM in last year's meeting at the home of the Class AA Southern League's Mississippi Braves. Mitch Slauter and Adam Frazier carded two-hit games and Hunter Renfroe launched his third home run of the season to extend MSU's all-time lead in the USM series to 77-36. State has won its last four matchups with the Golden Eagles and split the four Tristmark Park meetings with USM.
Senior lefty Luis Pollorena (3-0, 1.88) is slated to make his second start of the season Tuesday at Trustmark Park, working opposite USM southpaw Mason Robbins (1-1, 3.08). The Laredo, Texas, native sports a staff-best 14-5 career record with a 3.28 ERA in 44 appearances over three seasons. Tuesday's start will be Pollorena's second in three career matchups with the Golden Eagles. He earned wins in both previous meetings (both in 2011), including a six-inning start and shutout performance in the 2011 NCAA Atlanta Regional.
Renfroe enters Tuesday's game with a team-best .420 batting average and after an eight-hit, seven-RBI week, also shares (with Alex Detz) the team RBI lead with 17. Renfroe has hit safely in 13 of his 14 games with multiple-hit games in his last four and six of his last seven contests. The Crystal Springs, Miss., product smacked his third and fourth home runs last week.
MSU enters the week leading the SEC in batting average (.319), hits (199) and RBI (120) and in staff earned run average (1.73 and strikeouts (184). The Bulldogs defend at a .975 clip with an SEC-leading 26 double plays.
State returns to Dudy Noble Field this weekend to launch 2013 SEC competition against defending SEC champion LSU (15-1), ranked as high as second in this week's polls. Game times in Starkville are set for 6:30 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. in a Comcast TV game Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
The radio broadcasts of all four MSU games this week will be carried on the statewide MSU Baseball Radio Network and available in the Golden Triangle on the flagship radio station for MSU athletics, WKBB-FM (100.9) in West Point.
IN THE POLLS: The Bulldogs maintained a pair of top 10 national rankings despite a 2-2 week on the diamond last week State is ranked eighth (Collegiate Baseball), 10th (NCBWA writers poll), 11th (USA TODAY Sports coaches poll), 13th (Baseball America), and 14th (Perfect Game).