Previewing today’s series finale between No. 14 South Carolina and No. 24 Mississippi State.
• First pitch: 2 p.m.
• Records: South Carolina 39-15 (17-11 SEC), MSU 39-16 (15-14)
• Pitching matchup: South Carolina LHP Jack Wynkoop (7-2, 2.75) vs. MSU LHP Jacob Lindgren (4-2, 3.91)
• South Carolina lineup: LF Graham Saiko, 3B Chase Vergason, SS Joey Pankake, 1B LB Dantzler, DH Grayson Greiner, 2B Max Schrock, RF Connor Bright, CF Tanner English, C Dante Rosenberg
• MSU lineup: SS Adam Frazier, 3B Alex Detz, RF Hunter Renfroe, 2B Brett Pirtle, 1B Wes Rea, CF C.T. Bradford, LF Demarcus Henderson, C Nick Ammirati, DH Derrick Armstrong
• What to watch for: Last night’s 10-inning loss put a first-round SEC Tournament bye out of reach for MSU, but a lot is still on the line today. For one, State can win the series, and doing that could be the difference in whether it gets to host an NCAA regional. The Bulldogs have several pluses on their postseason résumé, including an RPI rank of 10 – one spot ahead of South Carolina, which has a very similar profile to MSU. That’s why today’s game is so important. Also, a win today would give the Bulldogs the No. 5 seed for the SEC Tournament, but a loss could drop them as low as eighth. The first two contests were decided by three runs total, with MSU rallying from behind each time, and this game figures to be a tight one, too.
• Pregame playlist: A few songs from my iPod to set the tone…
–”Aeroplane Blues,” Black Keys
–”Famous In a Small Town,” Miranda Lambert
–”Making Me Nervous,” Brad Sucks
–”Please, Please Baby,” Dwight Yoakam
–”The Way It Is,” Denver