On Friday, Mississippi State University and Ole miss will meet once again on the baseball diamond for a highly anticipated weekend series. This time, however, there is even more at stake than usual.
MSU comes into the game ranked 4th in the nation according to D1 Baseball, while Ole Miss sits at 6th. With both teams coming into the game in the top 10 national rankings, the hype is undeniable.
MSU Head Coach Chris Lemonis spoke on the anticipation Wednesday in a press conference.
"That's what everyone is talking about right now."
It will undoubtedly be an exciting series, but there were of course some questions to be answered before the first pitch on Friday.
Firstly, where's Tanner Allen? The senior right fielder was notably absent in the team's past midweek game against Arkansas State, but Lemonis assured the media about his status.
"Tanner's good to go. He's 100%," Lemonis said.
This was indubitably music to the ears of plenty of Bulldog fans as many were fearing they would enter this highly anticipated matchup without their leader and two-hole hitter. He comes into the game with a .333 batting average and will undoubtedly be looking to keep his hot streak alive.
Secondly, of course, is pitching. It is presumed Lemonis will go with his regular weekend rotation of MacLeod, Bednar and Fristoe, but with the solid performance in limited action from former starting pitcher and junior Eric Cerantola in recent games, reporters questioned Lemonis on what the future looks like for the Canadian Gunslinger.
"He'll have some opportunities ... we wanted to get him in against Arkansas State, but we had no intentions on that one being close late."
It appears Bulldog fans will have to wait a little longer to see the high powered arm of Cerantola back on the mound.
Another impressive and somewhat unexpected hitting boost has been coming from late in the MSU lineup, especially from one freshman shortstop Lane Forsythe. He also touts a .333 average, and Lemonis spoke highly of him.
"He's probably one of the hottest hitters we have right now, and with him in the 9 hole and Rowdey and Tanner batting one and two, we love having runners on base when they step up to the plate."
Fans of both teams were robbed of the matchup last year, as COVID-19 began to sweep the nation and cancelled the meeting. Lemonis addressed this as well.
"This time last year, I was sitting by my pool thinking 'Man, we should be playing baseball today', and now we're getting the chance."
This year fans will get to experience the matchup, and Lemonis spoke highly of the Dude effect in this weekend's action.
"I'd much rather play here ... you just can't beat that kind of environment."
The Dude will most certainly be rocking this weekend, as Bulldog fans of all ages come to Starkvegas for Super Bulldog Weekend and a chance to watch the Bulldogs take it to the Rebels.