College Sports

MSU faces another test vs. A&M; Ole Miss, USM head to Alabama

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD 
 USM outfielder Jake Sandlin takes a cut against Tulane during their game at MGM Park in Biloxi on Tuesday March 22, 2016.2
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD USM outfielder Jake Sandlin takes a cut against Tulane during their game at MGM Park in Biloxi on Tuesday March 22, 2016.2 SUN HERALD

The Ole Miss and Southern Miss baseball teams both head to the state of Alabama this weekend while Mississippi State will again play one of the biggest series in the nation starting on Friday.

No. 2 MSU (24-9-1) will host No. 4 Texas A&M (25-7, 7-5) at 6:30 p.m. on Friday to start a three-game series that could decide the SEC West.

The Bulldogs will look to take down a top five team for the second straight week after taking two of three at previous No. 1 Florida last week.

Pearl product Jake Mangum, a freshman outfielder, has been the hot bat for MSU lately with a .427 batting average and in 75 at-bats this season.

No. 8 Ole Miss (25-8) will travel to Alabama (20-13, 6-6) in a series important for the Rebels to stay in the top half of the SEC West. The Rebels are coming off a three-game sweep of Arkansas in Oxford last weekend.

No. 25 Southern Miss (26-8, 11-1) will again be the heavy favorite at UAB this weekend. The Blazers, who have lost six of seven, are 12-21 with a 4-8 mark against conference competition.

USM right-hander Cord Cockrell (6-0, 2.77) will look to stay perfect on the mound when he makes the start Friday night in Birmingham.

The Golden Eagles have won 21 of their last 22 conference contests.

USM, MSU and Ole Miss are all very much in the hunt to host NCAA regional sites with six weeks remaining in the regular season. Ole Miss is ranked No. 5 in RPI while Southern Miss is No. 13 after beating the Rebels 5-1 in Oxford Wednesday night. MSU checks in at No. 17 and should see its RPI ranking climb with a good weekend against No. 9 Texas A&M.

Weekend matchups:

USM at UAB

-- 6:30 p.m., Friday: USM RHP Cord Cockrell (6-0, 2.77) vs. UAB RHP Tanner Graham (1-4, 4.98)

-- 2 p.m., Saturday: USM RHP Nick Johnson (2-0, 3.21) vs. UAB LHP Ryan Ruggles (4-2, 2-31)

-- 1 p.m., Sunday: USM LHP Kirk McCarty (2-0, 4.10) vs. TBA.

Ole Miss at Alabama

-- 7 p.m., Friday: OM RHP Brady Bramlett (5-2, 2.49) vs. Bama RHP Geoffrey Bramblett (3-1, 2.39)

-- 5 p.m., Saturday: OM LHP David Parkinson (1-0, 1.46) vs. Bama RHP Jake Walters (2-3, 2.44)

-- 1 p.m., Sunday: TBA vs. Bama RHP Nick Eicholtz (2-1, 2.51).

Texas A&M at MSU

-- 6:30 p.m. Friday: A&M RHP Bingham Hill (4-0, 1.42) vs. MSU RHP Dakota Hudson (4-2, 1.68).

-- 2 p.m., Saturday: A&M RHP Jace Vines (5-0, 3.77) vs. MSU RHP Austin Sexton (3-1, 3.28).

-- 1:30 p.m., Sunday: A&M RHP Kyle Simonds (6-1, 3.35) vs. TBA.

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