| BSB/SB ⚾#23 Alabama @ #16 Mississippi State - [MSU wins 8-1 on Sat, goes for sweep Sun] Next up: Sunday 1 pm (SEC Network+)

Brandon Van de Graaff

A defensive deity, inventor of the Concussion.
The Tide is back on the road this weekend, and back in MS, as they take on Mississippi State in Starkville starting tomorrow night. Bama is coming off a series win over Ole Miss in Oxford, which hopefully cured some road woes, but the competition level will be a tad higher against State. As for the Bulldogs, they come into the series 12-9 in league play and coming off consecutive series sweeps of both auburn and Vandy. They are about mid pack in the league in terms of their hitting, but they swing the bats significantly better at home (+.077). What they don't have, is a lot of power. They are a station to station team with solid bats, but don't usually put up a ton of crooked numbers. On the other end, they have a very good pitching staff and play great defense. Their Saturday starter, Jurrangelo Cijntje, is ambidextrous and throws from both sides (and does so very well)... and with Bama's lefty heavy lineup, that's a matchup I'd imagine the Bulldogs like on paper.

For UA, the starting pitchers have been shuffled some, with Farone getting the Friday start, Adams moving up to Saturday, and Hess sliding into Sunday's role. Hopefully, this will take a little pressure off Hess and also allow for a more manageable bullpen situation (assuming Farone continues to stay sharp). Bama's bats have really warmed up along with the weather... they've scored 54 runs in their last 6 SEC games (avg. 9 per game). Hard to ask them to keep that type of production up, but if they do, they should win this series. However, this State team is hot right now, and getting them at their place with what will be a rowdy crowd, is a test Bama hasn't fared well with this year... so a series loss is absolutely on the table, if not likely. Regardless of the outcome, the picture of Alabama's Regional hosting possibilities will come into clearer focus as the threshold for league wins will all but certainly need to be at least 15, with Bama sitting on 9 right now (with 9 games left to play including this weekend). We can dive into that down the road, but right now, these games have a lot riding on them...

Some interesting changes today (apparently a virus is making its rounds)... Lebron in center for McCants, Portera with the rare start at SS. Hamiter in right for Petrutz. Max Grant at 1B. By far the most shuffled lineup of the year.

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