There were plans to play baseball in Oxford Friday night.
The game, origally set for 6:30 p.m., was pushed back to 7:30 and then 8:30. If played, it ended too late for press time for the Weekend Edition.
It’s a huge series for both teams.
With only two weekends remaining in the regular season, No. 5 Mississippi State wants to remain in contention to be a national seed once postseason play begins.
Both Baseball America and D1Baseball.com have the Bulldogs projected as the No. 4 national seed in the NCAA Tournament and they can help bolster those standings with a strong showing at rival Ole Miss this weekend.
“We need to win a couple more ballgames to solidify ourselves for a national seed,” said MSU’s Jake Mangum. “I told the guys that 2016 was the last time we’ve had a regional or super regional (in Starkville) and there was home field advantage to that.”
The 11th-ranked Rebels have an RPI of 18 and a few victories could potentially elevate MSU’s RPI ranking, which sits at fourth nationally.
“It’s going to be a war,” said MSU coach Chris Lemonis. “There’s a lot at stake. It’s a really good team and we’re a really good team and it’s a rivalry game. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun this weekend.”
The series is scheduled to get underway tonight at 6:30 and continues Saturday at 6 p.m. Sunday’s game is slated to start at noon on ESPN2.
“This is the best state in America for college baseball and I don’t think there’s a close second,” Mangum said. “People care about baseball in the state of Mississippi so everyone is going to be locked in on this series and if we play well, good things will happen.”
The Diamond Dogs (39-10, 15-9 SEC) have already beaten Ole Miss (32-17, 15-9 SEC) once this season. State claimed an 8-1 victory at Pearl on April 23 in the annual Governor’s Cup and have won eight of the last nine meetings overall.
“It’s going to be a tough atmosphere to play in, those guys are really good,” said MSU first baseman Tanner Allen. “We beat them in (Pearl) but that doesn’t mean anything. They’ll come out for blood this weekend. Those guys can really pitch and really hit so it’s going to be all hands on deck this weekend to beat those guys.”
Mississippi State enters the series second in the SEC with a .316 team batting average. The Bulldogs have 11 players hitting .300 or better, including eight players that started in Wednesday’s 10-9 win over Memphis. Mangum tops the league with 88 hits while sitting second with a .404 batting average and 20 steals and ranks third with 18 doubles. In his career against the Rebels, Mangum is batting .426 (23 for 54) with six doubles, a home run, eight RBIs, 16 runs scored.