The Mississippi State baseball team finds itself as the No. 23 team in the nation.
It's just in time to host the Nittany Lions of Penn State for a two-game midweek series today and Wednesday.
The Bulldogs (10-2) are coming off a successful four-game weekend where they finished a perfect 4-0 with a pair of wins over both the University of Connecticut and Lipscomb University.
In the four games, Mississippi State turned in a .326 batting average while pounding out 45 hits, including a season-high 19 hits in the weekend finale.
MSU third baseman Daryl Norris, who is batting at a .400 clip for the season, led the Bulldogs at the plate with an 8-for-16 effort. Sophomore C.T. Bradford set a career and team season-highs with a 4-for-6, six RBI outing on Sunday.
The Nittany Lions enter the week with a 2-6 record and played Samford on Monday evening. For the season, Penn State has a team batting average of .213 and a staff ERA of 4.63.
Despite the numbers behind the Nittany Lions, MSU coach John Cohen understands they will present a challenge for the Diamond Dawgs.
“This is going to be a challenge for us because they’ll have some big, physical guys on their bench,” said Cohen. “We’re going to be a little short on the mound because we threw so many guys over the weekend but we’ve got to find a way to navigate it.”
The Bulldogs extended themselves during the four-game series last weekend and while they knew it would present problems playing Penn State in the midweek, it was just something Cohen couldn’t pass up.
“You know, Butch (Thompson) is looking at me like 'really, we’re going to play four in a weekend and then play two in the middle?' He was right, but how do you turn down a chance to play Penn State when they are in our area? They have a great athletic department, great tradition and a lot of athletes on their ballclub.”
Mississippi State sends Bradford to the mound on Tuesday for his first action of the season as a pitcher.
The Bulldogs also expect to have a pair of starters back on the field as Brent Brownlee and Trey Porter should return from injury.
“I think those guys could have played, but I just didn’t want to do it,” said Cohen. “I think Trey Porter will be ready to go on (today) and Wednesday and I think Brent Brownlee will too. An extra day of rest is really going to help those guys.”
First pitch for today's and Wednesday matchups is set for 6:30 p.m. at Dudy Noble Field.