The No. 21 UK Baseball team will prepare to host the Mississippi State Bulldogs for a three-game series this weekend in Lexington, Kentucky. All three games will be played at Cliff Hagan Stadium and close out regular-season play at home.
The series will also conclude play at The Cliff, as the team will move to its new home this fall.
Coming off of a top-25 win in the midweek game against the Indiana Hoosiers and a devastating series loss against the unranked Tennessee Volunteers, the Cats have an important series ahead. The matchup and all games in the near future will play a major factor in postseason seeds/rankings.
The series will open on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPNU. Saturday’s game will have a 5 p.m. first pitch and Sunday’s is scheduled for 3 p.m. at The Cliff. Game two and three will be featured on the SEC Network.
With their current 11-13 record in conference play, the Cats need to gain some ground this weekend. Losing the series in Knoxville hurt their already-losing mentality and again dropped them in the rankings.
The Cats opened the season better than they have in years but are not living up to the expectations. The last few weeks have shown fans a side of the club that most would not have thought possible.
Previous matchups/how the weekend could pan out
The Bulldogs may not be ranked, but they do have the same record in SEC matchups as the Cats.
UK took the series when the Bulldogs last came to Lexington in 2015 but lost on the road in 2017.
Mississippi State leads 38-59 all-time vs. Kentucky and this year’s matchup will be particularly interesting because the last time the teams met, State’s current head coach, Gary Henderson, was the head coach of the Wildcats. UK’s head coach, Nick Mingione, was on the coaching staff at State at the time as well.
The team has made nine College World Series appearances and as an SEC West school, have been historically successful in baseball.
The Cats need to shine offensively and need the pitching staff to perform well as the season comes to a close.
Playing with a home field advantage should help UK but the Bulldogs will put up a fair fight as they are fighting for their spot both in the SEC Tournament and postseason as well.
Probable Pitching Matchups:
FRIDAY: UK – Sean Hjelle (Jr., RHP) vs. MSU – Konnor Pilkington (Jr., LHP)
SATURDAY: UK – Zack Thompson (So., LHP) vs. MSU – Ethan Small (So., LHP)
SUNDAY: UK – Justin Lewis (Jr., RHP) vs. MSU – TBD