Mississippi State Baseball hoping to keep momentum going against Alabama

Can Mississippi State Baseball pick-up their third-straight SEC series win and continue on a path towards hosting a regional?
Mississippi State pitcher Khal Stephen (14) pitches against Ole Miss at Swayze Field in Oxford,
Mississippi State pitcher Khal Stephen (14) pitches against Ole Miss at Swayze Field in Oxford, / Bruce Newman/Special to the Clarion

Mississippi State baseball hosts Alabama at Dudy Noble Field this weekend. Following their midweek Governor's Cup victory over Ole Miss, the Diamond Dawgs (30-15, 12-9 SEC) have won eight of their last nine games.

Despite some of the frustrations of this season, which were amplified given the struggles of the last two years, State is not only in position to return to the postseason. They suddenly have a very good chance of hosting. A series win over #15 RPI Alabama would go a long way towards making that happen.

The Crimson Tide are 28-16 on the season and 9-12 in the SEC. First year HC Rob Vaughn has done a fantastic job with the Tide thus far. His squad has impressive series wins over Tennessee, South Carolina, and Arkansas. They have struggled on the road, however, getting swept at both Georgia and Kentucky.

Alabama has a potent lineup

Bama is one of the better hitting teams in the SEC. They're third in the conference in batting average (.311) and fourth in both slugging (.538) and runs scored (351). They don't walk or strikeout frequently nor do they play small-ball. This is a team that tries to hit it hard, and they do it well.

Third-baseman Gage Miller is having an outstanding year, leading the team in average (.386), RBI (47), and home runs (18). Five other members of the Tide lineup are hitting .300 and three others have double-digit home runs.

State's pitching staff has done a good job against some of the better lineups they've faced this year. They'll be tested again with Alabama.

The Tide pitching staff has struggled in league play

Pitching has not been a strong suit for Alabama this year. In SEC games, the Tide have a team ERA of 6.71 and a batting average allowed of .271, both of which put them towards the bottom of the conference.

Friday night Ace Gage Farone has been solid with a 3.68 SEC ERA. Saturday starter Zane Adams (5.06) has been at bit more up-and-down, and Sunday starter Ben Hess (10.21) has struggled mightily. Their bullpen has struggled as well. Alton Davis (5.14) has been their most consistent reliever, but beyond him they don't have much.

Ironically, Mississippi State's lineup has seemingly struggled the most this season when facing weaker pitching staffs. Ideally they can reverse that trend this weekend.