Mississippi State is inviting several teams in this weekend to compete in the Bulldog Slamboree. Two from Texas in Lamar and Sam Houston State, one from across Mississippi in Alcorn State, and then Mercer from Macon, Georgia. The Bears are coming to Starkville at 12-2 and it’s looking like they’re going to be a team that could challenge MSU this weekend.
How do the teams compare at the plate?
When it comes to hitting, the Bears’ batters are having their way with opposing pitchers through their first 14 games. As a team, Mercer is hitting .332 with a .495 slugging percentage. So far, Mercer has 35 total extra base hits, 20 doubles, 2 triples, and then 13 home runs. This certainly isn’t a team to take lightly when it comes to scoring. In their 14 games, Mercer has outscored their opponents 85 to 37, with a lead in RBIs of 74 to 35.
Mississippi State certainly isn’t a slouch in any of those categories, and their numbers are right there with Mercer’s. MSU holds a batting average of .318 and a slugging percentage of .504. MSU has 47 extra base hits with 29 doubles, 6 triples, and 11 home runs. The Bulldogs have outscored their 15 opponents 76 to 22 and they hold a 72 to 12 lead in RBIs.
Advantage: Roughly Even
Alright, what about in the circle?
When it comes to pitching, Mercer has three pitchers with ERAs currently under 2.00 as well as three pitchers with over 25 innings of work. As a staff, the Bears have 74 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.43.
Mississippi State doesn’t have quite the level of depth that Mercer has when it comes to pitching, but the Bulldogs’ staff is one of the best in the SEC through their first 15 games. Seniors Cassady Knudsen and Holly Ward have ERAs of 0.23 and 0.32 respectively. As a staff, MSU has a collective ERA of 0.63 with 138 strikeouts, considerably better stats than those put up by Mercer.
Advantage: Mississippi State
What should we take away from this?
Mississippi State will almost certainly be tested a bit by Mercer. The Bulldogs will be the best team that the Bears have faced in the young season and playing in Starkville should be a fair advantage for MSU, especially if the team can draw a solid crowd of support.
Vann Stuedeman and Mississippi State should win this game, but don’t be surprised if Mercer pushes back on the Bulldogs. The visiting Bears are a tough opponent and could be a good test for MSU.