STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics/WTVA) - In 25 days, the Mississippi State baseball program and first-year head coach Chris Lemonis will open the new Dudy Noble Field. On Monday (Jan. 21), Baseball America gave the Diamond Dawgs the highest preseason ranking for the program since 2014.
Sitting No. 9 in Baseball America's preseason poll, State earns its highest preseason ranking since being tabbed a consensus top-10 team prior to the 2014 campaign. Also, it is the highest preseason ranking from Baseball American since the publication placed MSU No. 8 in its 2014 poll.
Mississippi State enters the season ranked in each of the four polls released to this point, sitting No. 14 according to D1Baseball, No. 17 in the Perfect Game poll and No. 27 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. In the 2018 preseason, State appeared in just two of the six major polls, earning the No. 32 spot from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers and USA Today Coaches Poll.
The Baseball America poll includes nine opponents on the 2019 schedule for State. LSU (2), Florida (4), Texas Tech (8), East Carolina (12), Ole Miss (13), Georgia (15), Auburn (17), Arkansas (18) and Southern Miss (21) all enter the season ranked. Mississippi State is slated to play six of 10 SEC series against ranked opponents, while a weekend series with Southern Miss, a ranked foe at the Frisco Classic and a mid-week home date all await in the early season.
The Bulldogs open the 2019 season with a three-game series at Dudy Noble Field against Youngstown State on Feb. 15-17. The season opener is slated for 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15 against the Penguins.