HOOVER, Ala.| Mississippi State will try and recapture the magic this afternoon after seeing a five-game winning streak snapped by Kentucky (CLICK HERE). The Wildcats gained some revenge for last weekend's sweep in Starkville, and now LSU hopes to avenge Wednesday's 3-2 loss to MSU (CLICK HERE).
Today is an elimination game. The MSU-LSU winner advances to the semifinals to face … Kentucky (noon Saturday). From that point on, it's single elimination. So it's win-or-go-home for everybody.
MSU coach John Cohen said yesterday that the players were "a little bit tired" mentally, so they have the challenge of getting refreshed in time for today's 3 p.m. start. This will be the Bulldogs' fourth game in as many days. Can the offense again become productive, or will the pitching have to carry the day, as it has so many times?
Well, Cohen is turning to a freshman, Jacob Lindgren. The left-hander has never started a game in college. He's 2-2 with a 2.75 ERA in 12 appearances, with 18 strikeouts and four walks in 19 2/3 innings. He tossed 5 1/3 innings of one-run relief against Kentucky last weekend.
It was expected that the start would go to sophomore Evan Mitchell (2-1, 3.52), who has started four games this year and came up big in the 2011 postseason. Lindgren will be the second freshman to start on the hill this week for State – Brandon Woodruff threw five shutout innings in Tuesday's win over Arkansas.
Regardless of who is on the mound, LSU (43-15) poses quite the challenge. This is the No. 1 tourney seed and second-ranked team in the country.
"They're top 10 in the country, and we'll come ready like we did (Wednesday) when we played them," shortstop Adam Frazier said. "So that's going to be a tough game, but we'll be ready."
• Today's game will be televised by CSS, so hopefully more people will be able to watch. ESPN3.com will stream the game, but I'm not sure if it will be blacked out in the South. You can listen on satellite radio (XM 199, Sirius 213) or terrestrial radio (CLICK HERE for affiliate list).