--- Mississippi State (33-13/10-11 SEC) opens the stretch run of its 2013 baseball season this weekend when the 15th-ranked Bulldogs test the Alabama Crimson Tide (27-18/11-9 SEC) in a key three-game series at Dudy Noble Field.
The series opens Friday with a 6 p.m. contest televised nationally by ESPNU. The Bulldogs and the Tide tangle Saturday at 2 p.m. before closing out their eighth weekend of league competition Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in a game broadcast nationally by CBS Sports Network. Tom Hart and Ben McDonald will describe the action for ESPNU Friday night while John Sadak and Marlon Anderson have the call of Sunday’s finale in CBS Sports Network’s Dudy Noble Field debut. The radio broadcast of all three games of the MSU-Alabama series will be carried on the statewide Bulldog Sports Network and available online to HailStateTV subscribers (http://www.hailstate.com/hstvlive). Live video streaming of the Saturday and Sunday games will also be available to HailStateTV subscribers.
State begins the weekend in eighth place in the overall SEC baseball standings, 1-1/2 games behind sixth-place Alabama and 3-1/2 games behind third-place Arkansas. The top four teams in the final league standings receive opening round byes in the upcoming SEC Baseball Tournament May 21-26 at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala. The next eight teams in the final league standings square off in a single-elimination round May 21, with four teams advancing to complete the eight-team double-elimination tournament bracket.
Senior lefty Luis Pollorena (6-2, 3.42) will make his eighth start of the campaign for in Friday’s series-opener, pitching opposite Alabama sophomore righty Spencer Turnbull (4-1, 2.26).
Junior outfielder Hunter Renfroe, included on the midseason watch list for Golden Spikes Award announced this week by USA Baseball, paces the Bulldogs and the SEC with a .403 batting average, 14 home runs and a .799 slugging percentage. Nearly half (29) of the Crystal Springs, Miss., product’s 60 hits have gone for extra bases. In the infield junior shortstop Adam Frazier (.332), one of two Bulldogs to start all 46 games, has assisted with 50 of the SEC-leading 59 double plays turned by the Bulldogs.
The Alabama series begins a 10-game May schedule for Mississippi State that includes seven games at Dudy Noble Field. MSU visits instate SEC rival Ole Miss next weekend before hosting first-time foe Oral Roberts (May 14) and closing out the 2013 regular season slate with a Thursday-through-Saturday SEC series against South Carolina (May 16-18).
Stadium gates and the Dudy Noble Field ticket office windows open at 4 p.m. Friday, with general admission tickets ($10) available for all three weekend games.