PEARL, MS (WLOX) - No. 12 Mississippi State (17-7-1) is coming off a series win over Georgia and return to the diamond 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Trustmark Park in Pearl. The Bulldogs face in-state rival Southern Miss (19-6). The Golden Eagles swept UTSA this past weekend.
The Bulldogs have tabbed freshman southpaw Konnor Pilkington (0-0, 0.75 ERA) to get the starting nod on the mound. Southern Miss will send right-hander Mason Walley (1-1, 4.26 ERA).
Last season the Golden Eagles defeated the Bulldogs 3-0 in Pearl. Mississippi State leads the all-time series with a 78-37 record against Southern Miss.
Mississippi State is ranked 12th in the USA Today Sports baseball coaches poll, 5th by Baseball America, 7th by Collegiate Baseball, 11th by D-I Baseball and the NCBWA and 13th by Perfect Game.
Southern Miss received votes in the USA Today Sports baseball coaches poll and the NCBWA poll.
Pitching has been a key for the Bulldogs. The MSU pitching staff ranks fourth nationally with 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings and defensively is 19th in the NCAA with a .979 fielding percentage.
Junior designated hitter Jake Kruger is 14th in the country with 11 doubles, while junior MSU center fielder Jacob Robson is 20th in the nation with 22 walks.
Konnor Pilkington of Hurley struck out a career-best six batters in five innings on March 22 in a win over Mississippi Valley state.