STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – 21 days away from the start of the 2018 baseball season, Mississippi State opened team practice on Friday under the lights at the new Dudy Noble Field.
With construction in progress on the $55 million upgrade to Dudy Noble, the Diamond Dawgs were able to take the field for the first time as a team since the start of the spring semester. After taking batting practice, MSU participated in the first of many intrasquad scrimmages leading up to Opening Day.
On Wednesday, State head coach Andy Cannizaro and Preseason All-American pitcher Konnor Pilkington met with the media to preview the start of team practice, along with other topics as the start of the season approaches.
In addition to today’s poll, the Diamond Dawgs have so for been ranked in all five major preseason top 25 polls. MSU is ranked No. 12 by D1 Baseball, No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 15 by USA Today, No. 23 by Baseball America and No. 25 by Perfect Game.
In terms of individual accolades, three Diamond Dawgs have combined for six Preseason All-American honors. Pilkington has garnered three (Collegiate Baseball, D1 Baseball and Perfect Game), while junior outfielder Jake Mangum has received two (D1 Baseball and Perfect Game) and junior relief pitcher Spencer Price has one (Collegiate Baseball).
State is coming off a 40-27 year in 2017 that included a NCAA Regional Championship in year one of the Andy Cannizaro Era. On Friday, Feb. 16, MSU will open the 2018 season on the very field at which the regional title was won, Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Fans will have opportunities to meet the 2018 Diamond Dawgs prior to Opening Day at a pair of free events on MSU’s campus. Fan Day is set for Sunday, Feb. 11, while Cowbell Yell will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 13.