Preview of Florida at Mississippi State

Preview of Florida at Mississippi State
April 9, 2011, 2:21 pm
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by Knox Bardeen

Mississippi State (21-9, 5-5 SEC) will host Florida (24-7, 7-3 SEC) in the second of a three-game series at Dudy Noble Field on Saturday. The game falls in the middle of Mississippi States annual spring homecoming celebration, Super Bulldog Weekend, and will be broadcast at 1 p.m. on CSS.

The series began Friday with a 7-5 win for Mississippi State over the fourth-ranked Gators. The win gives the Bulldogs a perfect SEC record at home this season, and pushes Mississippi State to 6-2 on the year against ranked opponents.

Florida will send sophomore Brian Johnson to the mound on Saturday. The southpaw is 4-1 this year with a 2.92 ERA in seven starts. In three starts against SEC opponents, Johnson is 0-1 with a 5.62 ERA.

Mississippi State counters Johnson with a sophomore of its own, right hander Chris Stratton, who has a 4-2 record with a 3.04 ERA. Stratton also has fared a little worse in SEC action. In three starts he sports a 1-2 record with a 4.95 ERA in conference play.

The teams enter play on Saturday headed in different directions. The Gators have lost two games in a row, both to unranked opponents, while the Bulldogs have won two in a row, Friday against fourth-ranked Florida and Tuesday against 14th-ranked Southern Mississippi.

Series History: Mississippi State has prevailed in two of its last three series with the Gators; though Florida has built up a 50-39 all-time series lead in a rivalry that got its start in 1923.

Florida has played 23 of its 31 contests on its own turf at McKethan Stadium, where it has compiled a 19-4 (.826) mark. The Gators are 5-3 (.625) on the road this spring, and have just started an eight-game road trip.

Senior Josh Adams is hitting .500 (18-for-36) over the last 11 games, with nine RBI, seven runs and a homer. He paces Florida through 10 SEC games with a .424 (14-for-33) average.

Mississippi State is 6-3 when it plays on a Saturday and 14-6 this season when it plays a day game.

Bulldog started Chris Stratton leads the staff with 40 strikeouts and 41.1 innings pitched and threw his first career complete game, in 4-3 Super Bulldog Weekend win, last year against Tennessee.

Florida is 7-0 when it plays on a Saturday and 12-1 this season when it plays a day game.