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Mississippi State, Ole Miss baseball remain in polls after rough road start to SEC play

Khal Stephen had the lone win from the mound for Mississippi State against Texas A&M (Photo courtesy of MSU Athletics)

Even after a rough weekend on the road, pollsters aren’t losing hope in Mississippi’s college baseball teams.

In this week’s rankings from Baseball America, Mississippi State only dropped one spot to No. 17 after losing two of three to No. 5 Texas A&M. Ole Miss came in at No. 22 in that same poll with a win over Southern Miss salvaging a week that included being run-ruled twice by No. 6 Tennessee.

“[Ole Miss’] pitching staff had a weekend to forget other than Liam Doyle, who allowed three earned runs and collected 10 strikeouts across six innings,” Teddy Cahill and Peter Flaherty wrote. “It wasn’t all bad though, as on top of its midweek win against Southern Miss, Ole Miss scored four runs in the top of the ninth Saturday to earn an exciting come-from-behind victory.”

Speaking of the Rebels’ overall poor performance on the mound, head coach Mike Bianco said Monday on SportsTalk Mississippi that he will switch up the weekend rotation for the second time in three weeks. Against No. 24 Kentucky this weekend in Oxford, Riley Maddox will take the mound on Friday, Liam Doyle on Saturday, and Gunnar Dennis on Sunday.

While Ole Miss has yet to be featured in D1Baseball’s rankings this season, Mississippi State stayed put at No. 21 as Texas A&M moved into the Top 5 after the series win. The Bulldogs will return to SEC play this weekend against No. 6 Florida, with the expected rotation shaken up with Khal Stephen on the bump Friday, Jurrangelo Cijntje taking the mound on Saturday, and Sunday to be determined.

In the meantime, both teams will have a chance to get their dugouts back in order with midweek matchups against non-conference opponents. Ole Miss will take on Austin Peay on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at home. Mississippi State will travel to Samford with first pitch set for 6 p.m.

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