MSU baseball rides into Columbia to take on the 'Cocks

Literally. The plane was having "engine trouble" so the diamond dawgs bused it all the way to Columbia, SC. Rumor has it, it was a reward for hitting so well in the mid-week game against South Alabama. I kid, I kid.

But, Mississippi State is riding a 2 game winning streak as the weekend series with the #10 ranked Gamecocks is here. The fact that Carolina is ranked 10th in the nation and is 5th in the Eastern Division shows you how tough the SEC really is; so don't let that 5-7 conference record fool you. SC is a dangerous team looking to vault themselves up in the conference standings.

Last weekends' return of Daryl Norris to the plate should continue to help alleviate State's struggles at the plate. The recent Vanderbilt series saw him bat .600 at the plate including a game winning walk off double on Sunday.

As great as having Norris back in the lineup is, I doubt he's ready to take his spot back at the hot corner, and State's defense surely needs to step it up. Both he and OF Brent Brownlee had some fluid drained from their knees so look for Norris to DH. That's an issue because MSU has had 13 errors over the past 2 weekend series, going 3-3 in those 6 games. Reducing that number will take pressure of our pitchers to hopefully go deeper in the games and avoid the costly big inning by the opposing team.

South Carolina's pitching is nothing short of extremely strong. That's not saying their unbeatable, as we've gotten to Baxendale from Arkansas among others. But SC's Friday night starter Michael Roth (3-0 1.98 ERA) is a hoss. It's a shame this game won't be broadcast on television because watching him pitch versus MSU's Chris Sratton (7-0 2.54) should be a great battle. Saturday Carolina will most likely throw freshman Jordan Montgomery (2-0 2.70) while State will send groundballer Kendall Graveman (2-1 2.68). Carolina will throw Colby Holmes (4-0 2.56) on Sunday and it will be all hands on deck for the Bulldogs. Seriously, anyone we have available on Sunday will be fair game for John Cohen and pitching coach Butch Thompson.

South Carolina is the reigning back to back National Champion, so it won't be easy, but this team is getting healthier, and after last weeks series win, has the mentality they can beat anyone. For whatever reason I'm feeling good going into this weekend, so RobbieRandolph picks your Mississippi State Bulldogs to take 2 of 3 from South Carolina providing a huge momentum boost going into next weeks Super Bulldog Weekend.

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