STARKVILLE - Mississippi State head coach Chris Lemonis and players Elijah MacNamee and Ethan Small met with the media today following their early afternoon practice. The Bulldogs will host Stanford this weekend in a best two of three series in the Super Regional round of the NCAA baseball tournament.
Mississippi State swept through the Starkville regional in three games, while Stanford needed five games to advance out of their home regional. The Cardinal won a winner take all regional final over Fresno State on Monday evening.
Small (9-2) is expected to get the start for the Bulldogs, while Stanford is planning to throw Brendan Beck (5-3). Beck has started 15 times this season and won some big ball games. Runs will likely come at a premium, which should help Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are currently 5th in the country with a team batting average of .319. Stanford has just three hitters with a batting average over .300.
Weather is a real concern for the weekend with a tropical system expected to push rain into the Starkville area most of the weekend. That said, the promised rains of the midweek did not arrive. At press time, the anticipated start time for Saturday's game is 2 PM, but that is subject to change as some rain is expected in the afternoon hours. The current forecast has the wet weather leaving the area in the evening hours.
No matter the start time, Mississippi State and Stanford are expected to get a game in on Friday. Be sure to check with Genespage.com and HailState.com for the latest developments.
The Bulldogs have already announced that senior Peyton Plumee (6-4) will get the start in game two. Normal game two starter JT Ginn started the regional opener against Southern, but was lifted after three innings due to some arm soreness. Lemonis affirmed his pithing plans today and shared that Ginn's status for the weekend remains undetermined.
Sources close to the situation share that Ginn has rested all week and skipped his normal bullpen and long toss sessions in an effort to get back to good health. The hope for Mississippi State is to be able to survive the weekend and advance on to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. Should the Bulldogs be able to win a pair without throwing Ginn that would be the best case scenario.
No matter the actual starters, the bottom line is Mississippi State is two wins away from making another trip to Omaha. Should the Bulldogs advance to the program's 11th college world series, it would be just the second time in program history that the Diamond Dawgs made back to back trips to the blessed promised land of college baseball.