Arkansas-Pine Bluff preview

Jacob Robson leads Mississippi State with 19 hits and eight stolen bases. (Mississippi State)

Jacob Robson leads Mississippi State with 19 hits and eight stolen bases. (Mississippi State)

Weather has once again bumped up Mississippi State’s start time on the diamond.

The 15th-ranked Bulldogs host Arkansas Pine-Bluff at 4 p.m. today hoping to improve on a perfect 13-0 start to the season. The game was originally slated for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch.

It is just the fourth time in school history MSU has started the year 13-0 and remain one of only four undefeated teams in the country. The Diamond Dogs were the first to reach 13 wins this season.

Today will be the first ever meeting between State and UAPB on the diamond.

John Cohen‘s club is coming off a four-game round robin sweep over the weekend against Arizona and Samford. The Bulldogs outscored their opponents 24-8 on the weekend.

Mississippi State is hitting .320 with six home runs and averaging 8.8 runs per game. The Diamond Dogs maintain an .968 fielding percentage and are 18-of-24 on stolen base attempts.

Sophomore centerfielder Jacob Robson leads the MSU regulars with a .442 average and 19 hits and is 8-of-11 in base thefts. Redshirt freshman designated hitter Brent Rooker has blasted a pair of homers while freshman second baseman Ryan Gridley and senior first baseman Wes Rea are tied for the team lead with 10 runs batted in apiece.

The Bulldogs pitching staff has compiled a 2.54 staff earned run average with 130 strikeouts and 44 walks in 117 innings. Their opponents are hitting just .208 against them with eight long balls.

Relievers Trevor Fitts, Dakota Hudson and Levi Mintz have kept a flawless ERA while sophomore Vance Tatum leads the team and the Southeastern Conference with 25 strikeouts. Fitts has notched four saves on the year.

State will send freshman right-hander Jesse McCord to the mound today. It will be McCord’s third start and is 1-0 with a 7.71 ERA, eight strikeouts and seven walks in seven innings of work.

The Golden Lions will counter with redshirt junior Ciji Ramos, making his first start of the year. Ramos sports a 10.80 ERA in four relief appearances with two strikeouts and a walk in 3 1/3 innings.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff is 3-6 on the year have won a series at Texas Southern over the weekend.

Carlos James‘ club is batting .188 on the year with three homers and scoring five runs a game. The Golden Lions sport a .967 fielding percentage and are 2-of-10 in the stolen base department.

Junior designated hitter Chris Burns III and redshirt junior catcher Gabe Munoz lead UAPB with a .333 batting average with Burns and freshman left fielder Jerimiah Figueroa each having five hits. Figueroa, Munoz and junior first baseman Andre Davis all have home runs while Burns tops the team with six RBI. Junior catcher Colin Drury and junior shortstop Westin Hinkel have the lone stolen bases.

The Golden Lion hurlers have a 4.91 staff ERA with 44 strikeouts and 17 walks in 51.1 frames.

Figueroa, Skyler Henson and Chris Phelps maintain a perfect ERA on the year. Billy Olson tops the team with nine strikeouts and no one has recorded a save thus far.

Today’s game can be streamed on SEC Network +.

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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