Tonight the annual battle for in-state baseball dominance will take place inside Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss., as the Bulldogs take on the Rebels in the 2012 Governor’s Cup.
The Bulldogs (21-15) are looking to rebound after a tough road trip to South Carolina that saw State drop all three contests.
The Rebels (24-12) on the other hand, dropped a series to the Georgia Bulldogs, but managed to salvage a game three win.
State will send freshman righty Brandon Woodruff (0-0, 2.70) to the mound for his second career start. Woodruff worked six scoreless innings and struck out eight of the 19 batters he faced in a win against South Alabama.
The Bulldogs enter the contest with a .270 team batting average and continued to be paced by sophomore third baseman Daryl Norris who has a .367 batting average. He’s joined by Adam Frazier with a .347 average as the only two Bulldogs with a batting average over .300.
On the mound State carries a .315 staff ERA and defensively lead the league with 42 double plays turned.
Ole Miss will counter with freshman right-hander Sam Smith. He will be making his seventh start of the season and 10th appearance of the year. Smith has posted a 2-2 record with 23 strikeouts and only five walks allowed in his 30.0 innings of work. He holds a 3.60 ERA and has held opponents to a .294 batting average against in his time on the mound. Smith is coming off a win over Central Arkansas last week that saw him pitch 5.0 innings and allow one unearned run on two hits a walk and two strikeouts.
Alex Yarbrough leads the Rebels at the dish and stands second in the SEC with a .421 batting average this season. He is one of six Ole Miss players batting above .300 for the season. Zach Kirksey provides the power for the Rebels with 10 home runs while turning in 37 RBI and a .287 batting average.
Mississippi State claimed a 6-1 win last year in the nonconference affair and own a 3-2 edge in the series. State later took two of three games in the SEC weekend series played in Oxford.
Today's game comes in the middle of rugged stretch of seven games against SEC opponents over a nine-day span for the Bulldogs. This week MSU is slated to host SEC East foe, Tennessee, in a three-game Super Bulldog Weekend series this week at Dudy Noble Field.
First pitch is set for 6:35 tonight with Jim Ellis and Bart Gregory on the call.