Season series on the line between Mississippi State Baseball and Ole Miss in Hoover

Mississippi State baseball will face their rivals one final time in 2024 with the season series and potential regional implications at stake.
Mississippi State infielder Logan Kohler (40) drives in a run on a groundout in the 5th inning against Ole Miss at Swayze Field in Oxford, Miss., on Friday, Apr. 12, 2024.
Mississippi State infielder Logan Kohler (40) drives in a run on a groundout in the 5th inning against Ole Miss at Swayze Field in Oxford, Miss., on Friday, Apr. 12, 2024. / Bruce Newman/Special to the Clarion

Mississippi State baseball heads to Hoover tonight for the 2024 SEC Baseball Tournament. The Diamond Dawgs will open up the postseason with an all-too familiar foe in their rivals, the Ole Miss Rebels. This will be the fifth time the teams have played this season, with the series currently split 2-2.

Mississippi State earned the 5-seed in the tournament after a 36-19 regular season and a 17-13 record in SEC play. It was a major improvement from the last two years when State missed Hoover altogether.

Ole Miss enters Hoover as the 12-seed, the last team in the field. The Rebels had a second-straight disappointing season, going 27-28 and just 11-19 in the conference.

State should have the edge over Ole Miss

As you can gather from each team's record and seeding, Mississippi State should have a significant edge of their rival. The Bulldogs have been a far better pitching team and, despite some baffling inconsistencies, have been a good bit stronger at the plate.

Riley Maddox (3-7, 6.10 ERA) will start on the mound for Ole Miss. He's had a mixed bag of outings recently. He started against State in the SEC series opener and pitched well for several innings before the Bulldog lineup exploded. Also of note, the Rebels will be without their best hitter, Ethan Lege.

Brooks Auger (1-2, 3.78 ERA) will start for State. He's had several productive outings lately, so hopefully he can keep a struggling Rebels lineup in check. But despite the clear advantages State has, they've still lost twice to this Ole Miss team.

Season series on the line between Dawgs and Rebs

Mississippi State and Ole Miss met four times during the regular season, as is typical for the college baseball season. The teams met in Oxford for their SEC series in mid-April. After a dominant Friday night win, the Bulldogs blew multiple leads in an extra-inning affair to lose on Saturday before getting blown-out in Sunday's meeting.

State took their first SEC series loss to Ole Miss since 2015. They did some revenge, however, at the beginning of May in the Governor's Cup, winning 5-1 to even the season series at two wins a piece.

Tuesday night's game a must-win if Bulldogs hope to host

Though MSU is safely locked-in to making a regional, they still have lots to play for in Hoover. The Diamond Dawgs are currently just outside the cutline to be a regional host. Had they swept Missouri over the weekend, they'd likely have secured a hosting spot, but dropping the series finale against an awful team was a harsh blow.

State needs to go on a bit of a run in the SEC Tournament if they're going to get their resume up to being host-worthy. Simply put, if they don't beat the Rebels Tuesday night, they can kiss any hopes of a regional being played in Starkville goodbye.

We'll see if Mississippi State baseball can handle business against their rivals tonight and keep those hopes alive. State's game is the fourth and last of the day in Hoover and will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of Vanderbilt-Florida, which starts at 4:30 PM CT. You can watch all of today's SEC Tournament action on the SEC Network.