Mississippi State survived Day 1 at the SEC Tournament eliminating Georgia 5-4 in 10-innings Tuesday night.
But the fourth-seeded Bulldogs will not have long to celebrate as No. 4 seed South Carolina now stands in the way. The two teams meet in Wednesday’s nightcap on CSS.
MSU is vying for its eighth SEC Tournament title and are 9-2 at the event over the last three seasons. The Diamond Dogs are 61-46 all-time at the SEC Tournament.
State is 7-1 against the Gamecocks in the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs defeated South Carolina 5-3 last season in Hoover and took three of the four meetings in 2013.
The Gamecocks lead the overall series 36-29 against Mississippi State.
John Cohen’s club enters tonight’s game batting .271 on the year with 14 home runs and averaging 4.9 runs per game. The Diamond Dogs maintain a .980 fielding percentage and are 63-of-88 on stolen base attempts.
Senior second baseman Brett Pirtle leads MSU with 73 hits and a .344 batting average. Junior infielder Wes Rea has clubbed four homers and senior first baseman Alex Detz has knocked in 39 runs. Senior left fielder Derrick Armstrong has swiped 13 bases in 15 tries this season.
State’s pitching staff has compiled a 2.86 earned run average with 463 strikeouts and 179 walks over 509 innings. Their opponents are hitting .240 against them with 11 long balls.
Junior reliever Jacob Lindgren has a team-low 0.96 ERA and also leads Mississippi State with 87 strikeouts in only 47 innings. Junior All-American closer Jonathan Holder has seven saves this spring.
The Diamond Dogs will send junior right-hander Trevor Fitts to the mound for his 15th start of the year. Fitts is 4-3 with a 2.59 ERA, 55 strikeouts and 10 walks.
South Carolina will counter with junior southpaw Jordan Montgomery. In 14 previous starts, Montgomery is 7-4 with a 3.26 ERA, 85 strikeouts and 25 walks over 88.1 innings of work.
The Gamecocks are 42-14 on the year having won seven of their last eight coming in. South Carolina received a first round bye in the SEC Tournament by winning its final regular season series at Vanderbilt.
Chad Holbrook’s squad is hitting .283 on the year with 30 homers and scoring 5.5 runs per game. The Gamecocks sport a .976 fielding percentage and are 41-of-58 on base thefts.
Junior first baseman Kyle Martin leads South Carolina with 74 hits while freshman outfielder Brock Maxwell has a .500 batting average. Junior catcher Grayson Greiner has slugged eight long balls and has 50 RBI while junior centerfielder Tanner English is the team’s top base thief with 17 steals.
The Gamecock hurlers have a 2.15 staff ERA with 436 strikeouts and 140 walks in 506 frames. Their opposition is batting just .223 against them with 18 home runs.
Relievers Vince Fiori, Hunter Privette, John Parke and Trey McNickle all have their flawless ERA’s intact with Montgomery as the team’s strikeout leader. Junior Joel Seddon has closed out 14 of South Carolina’s 15 saves on the year.