Georgia (14-8, 1-2 SEC) returns to conference play Thursday against 10th-ranked Mississippi State (15-6-1, 2-1 SEC) in a three-game SEC series in Starkville.
The entire Mississippi State SEC road series will be available on SEC Network+. All games will be carried on the Georgia Bulldogs Sports Network from IMG.
Georgia’s rotation for the MSU series will feature freshman LHP Kevin Smith in his SEC debut for game one of the series on Thursday night. Smith is off to a sterling start in his Bulldog career, posting a 3-0 mark and 1.93 ERA in four starts. He has 20 strikeouts and nine walks in 23.1 innings. His wins have come over Georgia Southern at home, and at Charlotte and at Kennesaw State. MSU will counter with the reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week in junior RHP Dakota Hudson (2-1, 1.38 ERA).
In game two Friday night, the Bulldogs will start junior RHP Robert Tyler (2-1, 3.42 ERA) versus junior RHP Austin Sexton (2-1, 4.15 ERA). Tyler battled with his command last Friday against Kentucky, issuing a career-high seven walks in five innings but held the Wildcats to a pair of runs in picking up a 5-2 victory.
Neither team has announced a starter for the final game of the series. Georgia’s other weekend starters this season have been senior RHP Heath Holder (0-2, 3.46 ERA) and junior LHPConnor Jones (3-1, 4.94 ERA). The only other Bulldog to start a game this season has been junior LHP Andrew Gist (2-1, 3.52 ERA), and he started this past Tuesday against Mercer.
Georgia had won six in a row including an SEC-opening victory over Kentucky but now has dropped three straight. The Wildcats came back to claim the series and then the Bulldogs lost at home to Mercer this past Tuesday 3-1. Georgia’s pitching and defense in league action had a rough weekend, walking 20 batters and making eight errors while the offense scored 15 runs and batted .250 against the Wildcats. Against the Bears, Georgia had just six hits with 12 strikeouts.
Georgia enters the MSU series batting .245 and scoring an average of 4.9 runs a game while posting an ERA of 3.97. MSU is batting .311 and averaging 7.3 runs a game with a team ERA of 3.53. Georgia’s top hitter is junior centerfielder Stephen Wrenn (.306-0-12) while the home run and RBI leader is sophomore left fielder Keegan McGovern (.298-5-21). Senior DH/1B Daniel Nichols owns a six-game hitting streak and is batting .264-4-11. He was a bright spot at the plate last week, batting .429 with three home runs and four RBI.
Upcoming Series Fast Facts
In records dating back to 1950, Georgia is 41-40 versus Miss. State. The Bulldogs are led by Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin. Georgia last faced MSU in 2014, dropping a series in Athens 2-1. Also, Georgia was eliminated by MSU at the 2014 SEC Tournament, 5-4 in 10 innings. Georgia’s last trip to Starkville came in 2010 when it went 1-2. Last week MSU won a road series over then No. 2 Vanderbilt to improve to 6-2 against Top 25 teams this year.
TV: SEC Network +: (Thurs./Sat). Bart Gregory, Matt Wyatt
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network from IMG College (David Johnston/Jeff Dantzler)
Stations: 960 AM-WRFC and selected affiliates (check your local listings), georgiadogs.com and via the Georgia Bulldogs app and TuneIn app.
Additional Coverage on Twitter: @BaseballUGA
Video Links For Georgia Baseball This Week (March 22, 24-26)
Thursday at Miss. State, 7:30 pm ET (SECN+)
Friday at Miss. State, 7:30 pm ET (SECN+)
Saturday at Miss. State, 3 pm ET (SECN+)