HOOVER, Ala. | Previewing today’s game between No. 16 MSU and Texas A&M in the third round of the SEC Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
• First pitch: 8:45 p.m.
• TV: SportSouth
• Records: MSU 42-16, Texas A&M 32-25
• Pitching matchup: MSU RHP Kendall Graveman (5-5, 2.99) vs. Texas A&M RHP Rafael Pineda (5-4, 3.09)
• MSU lineup: SS Adam Frazier, DH Alex Detz, CF Hunter Renfroe, 2B Brett Pirtle, 1B Wes Rea, RF Demarcus Henderson, C Nick Ammirati, 3B Sam Frost, LF Jacob Robson
• Texas A&M lineup: SS Mikey Reynolds, 2B Blake Allemand, 1B Cole Lankford, C Troy Stein, 3B Hunter Melton, DH Daniel Mengden, LF Chance Bolcerek, CF Krey Bratsen, RF Jace Statum
• What to watch for: MSU swept the Aggies in College Station back in mid-April. In Game 2, Graveman tossed a complete game, while Pineda gave up six runs (five earned) in two-plus innings, as MSU won 9-3. The No. 5 seed Bulldogs will be in the visiting dugout again today on account of No. 9 seed A&M having resided there the first two rounds. If MSU can win today, it will get a pass into Saturday’s semifinal round, which means a day off Friday. The loser plays Vanderbilt tomorrow night in an elimination game. This matchup is intriguing in that Graveman, a ground-ball pitcher, is facing a team that has hit four home runs this week, including two by third baseman Hunter Melton. Over his last 13 games, Melton is hitting .352 with four home runs and 11 RBIs. What’s interesting is A&M is not a power team, with just 22 home runs in the regular season, compared to 28 for MSU.
• Pregame playlist: A few songs from my iPod to set the tone…
–”Soulshine,” Jared Blake
–”Time to Run,” Lord Huron
–”(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” Otis Redding
–”Desert Lark,” Great Peacock
–”The Way,” Fastball