Southern Miss

Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss remain in Championship contention

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD 
 Mississippi State outfielder Cody Brown, right, and the Bulldogs travel to Auburn this weekend.
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD Mississippi State outfielder Cody Brown, right, and the Bulldogs travel to Auburn this weekend.

Southern Miss looks to stay atop the Conference-USA standings. Mississippi State holds a one-game lead over Ole Miss for second-place in the SEC Western Division.

The Golden Eagles (34-14 overall, 18-6 C-USA), ranked 16th by Collegiate Baseball, host Louisiana Tech at Pete Taylor Park in a series that starts at 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday at 2 p.m., and 1 p.m. Sunday.

-MSU (34-14-1, 15-9 SEC), ranked third by Baseball America, travels to Auburn.

-Ole Miss (36-13, 14-10 SEC), ranked sixth by Baseball America, hosts Kentucky in a series that began Thursday night at Swayze Field. The Rebels swept Kentucky in their last meeting two years ago. Seniors Connor Cloyd, Matt Denny, Cameron Dishon and Holt Perdzock will be playing their final regular-season games at home.

Henri Lartique leads the Rebels with a .344 average. J.B. Woodman leads the Rebels with 10 homers and 43 RBI.

The MSU-Auburn series features two of the SEC's top three hitters: Jake Mangum (MSU) and Anfernee Grier (Auburn). Mangum is hitting .413 with 59 hits. Grier is third at .383 with 10 homers and 38 RBI. But the Bulldogs have a decided advantage with Dakota Hudson (7-3, 85 strikeouts) and Austin Sexton (5-2, 70 strikeouts).

For the second straight week, Southern Miss coach Scott Berry has changed the Golden Eagles' pitching rotation. Mason Walley (1-2) will start the series' opener against the Bulldogs. Unbeaten Kirk McCarty (5-0) will start his second straight Saturday, and Walker Powell (3-2) on Sunday. Walley moves into the Friday night spot after USM's No. 1 starter, Cord Cockrell, left last week's game against Western Kentucky with shoulder soreness. Cockrell, who is out indefinitely, is 7-1 with a 3.55 ERA in 12 starts this season.

Jake Sandlin leads the Golden Eagles with a .377 average, fourth in C-USA. Taylor Braley has hit a team-high 10 homers, third in C-USA. Dylan Burdeaux has hit nine homers with 35 RBI.

If the Rebels and Bulldogs finish tied at the end of the regular season, MSU holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Ole Miss.

Southern Miss is tied for first place with Rice in C-USA, but the Golden Eagles hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Owls. Rice (31-15) hosts Florida Atlantic (33-13), which sits one game behind the C-USA co-leaders.

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