Regional Preview: Mississippi State
Overall Record: 35-21
Mississippi State started off the 2006 college baseball 18-0. The Bulldogs ripped through the big part of their non-conference schedule. They found life difficult in the SEC, as they Bulldogs posted a 17-21 record. The key to the Bulldogs getting selected to the NCAA tournament may have been, when they took two of three against LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The Bulldogs are led by veteran coach Ron Polk. Polk is in his 28th year with Mississippi State. Polk took a hiatus from the Bulldogs, in which he led Georgia to the College World Series in 2001. Polk then returned to Mississippi State.
Polk’s Bulldogs travel to Clemson hitting .307, as a team. The Bulldogs are led by Thomas Berkery, who is hitting .393. Berkery is tied for the team lead with 43 RBIs with left fielder Jeff Butts. The Bulldogs do not have a player 10 or more home runs. First baseman Brian LaNinfa leads the team with 9 home runs.
The Bulldogs pitching staff comes into the regional with a team ERA of 4.19. The staff is led by left-hander Justin Pigott. Pigott in his last outing pitched his third complete game of the season against SEC tournament Champion Mississippi. Brooks Dunn (4.36 ERA) and Chad Crosswhite (4.42 ERA) are the other probable starters.
The Bulldog pitching staff is backed up by .961 fielding percentage.
Mississippi State will be rested after having last week off, due to missing the SEC tournament. They will draw Elon at 3 pm on Friday.