Keegan James

 Keegan James

Keegan James could be one of the rotation pitchers for the Mississippi State Bulldogs start Southeastern Conference play in a couple of weeks.

When Sunday's game against Nebraska at the Frisco Classic was canceled due to cold weather, James was forced to miss one of those starts.

He won't have to wait long for another opportunity.

MSU head baseball coach Chris Lemonis announced on Monday that James will take the mound to begin Tuesday's outing against Eastern Carolina at Dudy Noble Field. The game time was moved up to 3 p.m. for the continued cold weather expected in the area.

James has been good in his two previous starts with a 1-0 record and 1.12 earned run average, so it's the goal of Lemonis to keep him on a rhythm.

"Right now everything is non-conference so we'd like to keep him as close to on track as possible," Lemonis said.

Lemonis doesn't believe James will go too far into Tuesday's game, but said five or six innings would be possible.

The Bulldogs continue to gain momentum in the early season with their 10-1 record and top 10 ranking in the polls. They defeated Sam Houston State 5-4 and Texas Tech 4-2 in Frisco.

"It was tough conditions to see us compete against good teams and got two really good starts," Lemonis said. "We played good defense in those conditions for the most part."

MSU expects another challenge today against East Carolina.

Lemonis said the Pirates will present a physical lineup and a talented starting pitcher with Gavin Williams.

"(Williams) is in the mid to upper 90s, so we're going to see a really good college baseball team and that's what we're hoping for," Lemonis said. "We want to play the best and I think it will be a good day."

Leading the Bulldog offense to no surprise is Jake Mangum. The veteran has a .356 batting average and leads the team with 16 hits. He has five doubles and 10 runs batted in.

Justin Foscue leads the Bulldogs with four home runs and Tanner Allen has driven in a team-high 20 runs batted in.

Lemonis does not anticipate the cold weather to be as much of a factor today as it did in Texas. The comforts of home should make it better in his mind.

"It will be warmer than we had for the weekend," Lemonis said. "Unfortunately, you go west, come back, it followed us here, so it's kind of the same stuff we played in all weekend, but we'll be fine. Being at home makes it a little bit easier and being in our own locker room."

Wednesday's game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff will also be a 3 p.m. start at Dudy Noble Field. Lemonis said the pitching plans for Wednesday may be dictated on who is not used today, but said the starter could be either be Peyton Plumlee (1-0, 2.13) or Eric Cerantola (1-0), 0.00).

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