Mississippi State Baseball looks to close regular season strong against Missouri

Mississippi State baseball host Missouri for their regular season finale. Can the Diamond Dawgs finish strong?
Mississippi State breaks in the new Dudy Noble Field with a three-game series against Youngstown
Mississippi State breaks in the new Dudy Noble Field with a three-game series against Youngstown / Keith Warren

We've reached the final weekend of college baseball regular season, and Mississippi State baseball will play what is potentially their final series at Dudy Noble Field in 2024 (hopefully not). The Diamond Dawgs (34-18, 15-12 SEC) look to bounce back from their frustrating series loss at Arkansas last weekend with a strong showing against Missouri.

And the expectation will be for State to handle business. The Tigers have been one of the worst teams in the SEC. They're 22-30 on the season with just eight conference wins. Mizzou is the type of team MSU needs to easily handle if they're serious about hosting a regional and making a postseason run.

Mizzou is a terrible hitting team

There's no reason to sugarcoat it. The Tigers' bats have been awful this year. They're last in the SEC in batting average (.257), on-base percentage (.364), runs scored, strikeouts, doubles, and home runs. They don't walk much either, and while they'll attempt to manufacture runs with small ball, it hasn't done them much good.

Left-fielder Brock Daniels is the only player who's played in at least 10 games with a .300 average. He's hitting .301 with 28 RBI. Right-fielder Trevor Austin has flashed some power with 11 home runs, but there isn't much formidable about this lineup at all.

I'd expect State's starting pitching to do well. But if their bullpen continues to struggle against this lineup, that wouldn't inspire confidence.

Mizzou's pitching is poor as well

Though not worst in the SEC, Missouri's pitching staff has struggled this season too. They're 11th in the league in both ERA (5.89) and batting average allowed (.266). They're 13th in strikeouts and ninth in walks allowed. Mizzou has also hit the most batters in the conference while allowing plenty of hard hit balls.

Right-hander Kaden Jacobi is the only known starter entering the series, and this will be his first start of the year. In 15.0 innings pitched, he has a 7.20 ERA with a 15/4 strikeout to walk ratio. After him, the Tigers could go in just about any direction. I would be surprised, however, if Logan Lunceford (1-5, 7.35 ERA, 1.63 WHIP) isn't a starter, as he's started all season. Jacob Peaden (5.30 ERA, 33/22 K/BB, 1.71 WHIP) has been their top reliever.

This needs to be a big weekend for Mississippi State's lineup. They've slowly started to find more consistency throughout the lineup over the last few weeks, but lulls of ineffectiveness and stranding runners on base still plague them. They need to take advantage of Mizzou's makeshift rotation and build some momentum.

Mississippi State baseball would be in great shape to host with a sweep

Despite some of the ups-and-downs of the year, the Diamond Dawgs have given themselves a chance to host a regional in Starkville for the first time since their last postseason appearance in 2021. If State were to sweep Missouri, they'd have 18 SEC wins and a RPI inside the top-20. That should be enough to be a host.

But with just one loss to the Tigers, who are 104th in the RPI, the picture becomes a bit less clear, and there'd be a real chance to have to travel for the postseason. MSU needs to go out and handle business this week to remove any doubt.