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MSU welcomes tough opponents for Classic

February 21, 2013

Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen has his team off to a 5-0 start this season and it hosts the Diamond Classic this weekend. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

The Mississippi State baseball team will meet a very familiar foe this weekend.

The No. 12 (Collegiate Baseball) Bulldogs host the inaugural Diamond Classic presented by Polk's Meat Products this weekend and one of those opponents will be Samford, which ended MSU's season in 2012.

State (5-0) plays the defending Big Ten Conference Champion Purdue (2-2) today and Saturday at 6 p.m.

MSU will also have an opportunity for revenge when it plays Samford (4-1) on Saturday at 3 p.m. and on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Samford beat Mississippi State twice last season in the Tallahassee Regional.

"I think we are mentally and physically ready," MSU sophomore lefty Jonathan Holder said after recording his second save not the season on Tuesday. "We are going to rest up these next couple of days, get some practice in and be ready to go for them."

Sophomore lefty Jacob Lindgren (1-0, 1.50) will get the first start of the weekend for the Bulldogs. He will be facing Purdue freshman left hander Jordan Minch. 

Junior righty Evan Mitchell (0-0, 1.80) starts against Samford's C.K. Irby (1-0, 3.60) on Saturday. Senior co-captain right hander Kendall Graveman (1-0, 0.00) will go against the Boilermakers in the second game of the doubleheader on Saturday. He faces senior righty Robert Ramer.

Will Cox (0-0, 0.00) gets the nod in the final game on Sunday as he did last week. He will take on lefty Patrick McGavin (0-1, 3.60).

Both Purdue and Samford made the postseason last year. Purdue hosted a regional at Gary, Ind. while Samford joined MSU in the Tallahassee Regional. 

"It's some good teams coming in," State sophomore right-handed pitcher Brandon Woodruff said, who got the win on the mound against Grambling on Tuesday. "We can't take them lightly. We have to come in, play hard every game and try to get four more wins."

It is Purdue's first appearance in the Magnolia State since being swept in a three-game series by Ole Miss in March of 2005.

MSU and Purdue have not played each other since 1936. 

The Magnolia State Bulldogs are led offensively by senior catcher Mitch Slauter with a .538 batting average.

Junior infielders Daryl Norris and Adam Frazier are batting .417 and .400 respectively. MSU is hitting .329 as a team. 

State has already turned eight double plays this season and have only committed one error in 196 chances for a .995 fielding percentage.

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