MSU makes tourney

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, May 31, 2011

STARKVILLE — Mississippi State’s 2011 baseball season will continue this week in Atlanta, with competition in the NCAA Atlanta Regional hosted by Georgia Tech. Monday afternoon the Bulldogs received an at-large berth in the 64-team field of the 2011 NCAA Baseball Tournament.

State (34-23), seeded third in the double-elimination regional competition, will meet No. 2 seed Southern Miss (39-17) Friday at 2 p.m. Host Georgia Tech (40-19) will take on No. 4 seed Austin Peay (33-22) in the 6 p.m. nightcap.

“I’m excited about playing in a great regional,” said MSU head baseball coach John Cohen. “Not a single kid in our locker room has played in an NCAA regional so we are excited about this opportunity. We will get our schedule hammered out this afternoon and get ready to play in a great regional. I’m proud for what our kids have done and excited for the opportunity we have to keep playing.”

Email newsletter signup

“It’s a great tournament field, and with Southern Miss we might have one of the best matchups of two/three seeds in the country,” he added.

It is MSU’s 31st advancement to NCAA postseason competition and the school’s 25th since the NCAA adopted the regional tournament playoff format in 1976. State’s last trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2007 was a memorable one. The Bulldogs won all three games in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional, hosted by No. 6 national seed Florida State, and with record crowds looking on at Dudy Noble Field swept a second ACC team, Clemson, to advance to the program’s eighth appearance at the NCAA College World Series.

Mississippi State won two of its last three SEC weekend series on the road and took a 10-3 May record into last week’s Southeastern Conference Tournament in Hoover, Ala. Eventual SEC tourney champion Florida rallied for a 7-5 win over MSU and SEC West champ Arkansas topped the Bulldogs 7-2.

MSU nipped Southern Miss 5-4 in a neutral site contest April 5 at Trustmark Park in Pearl.

The Bulldogs will be making their second trip to Georgia Tech’s Russ Chandler Stadium for NCAA postseason play. State played in the 2005 Atlanta Regional, posting a 1-2 mark against Jacksonville (Ala.) State and Texas Tech. MSU did not face the host Yellow Jackets in that tournament.

MSU holds a 75-36 all-time series lead against USM and is 3-2 against Austin Peay and 7-3 against Georgia Tech.