Weather permitting, the annual Governor's Cup rivalry will be renewed tonight at Trustmark Park in Pearl (6:30, CSS). Mississippi State comes limping in after being swept by South Carolina, and the Bulldogs are still doing battle with the injury bug (CLICK HERE).
MSU (21-15) will go with freshman right-hander Brandon Woodruff (0-0, 2.70 ERA) on the mound opposite another freshman righty, Sam Smith (2-2, 3.60). It'll be Woodruff's second career start. In his first one, last week versus South Alabama, he tossed six no-hit, shutout innings with eight strikeouts.
"He's a guy who really, really had a great first start at Mississippi State last Tuesday, and we want to keep that momentum going also," coach John Cohen said. "So hopefully he'll go out there and do what he did last Tuesday."
You can expect to see sophomore righty Ben Bracewell on the mound tonight as well, as Cohen tries to get the former weekend starter back to where he was before elbow soreness set him back. The pitching approach sums up well the attitude Cohen takes toward this game, and I'm sure it's much the same approach as Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco is taking. While this is a rival game, it's not priority No. 1 this week.
"You have to protect yourself for the weekend," Cohen said. "It's a great atmosphere, I'm glad we do it. Obviously it's a great rivalry with Ole Miss, it's a lot of fun. But the SEC portion of protecting that is always priority No. 1. If it wasn't priority No. 1, then we wouldn't have pitched Chris Stratton last Friday night. We'd be pitching him (tonight)."
If you want the Rebel viewpoint on this game, check out Parrish Alford's story (CLICK HERE).
• Cohen and Joe Dier, the MSU media relations director, both told me this morning that they feel good about getting the game in despite all the rain that's falling right now. Looks like it'll slack off toward the evening.
• Programming note: Since I'll be in Pearl to cover the game, I won't be at spring practice today. But Paul Jones will have you covered in tomorrow's Journal.
• On today's Bulldog Beat on BulldogSportsRadio.com, I spoke with Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post as part of my ongoing Spring Circuit series. We talked Florida, and tomorrow's show will feature Michael Casagrande of the Decatur Daily as we discuss Alabama and it's shattered championship dreams – no, sorry, just a shattered championship trophy (CLICK HERE).