Ric Flair said to be the best, you had to beat the best. For the Central Michigan Chippewas, that checklist continues today at 7pm in Starkville, MS as the Chips continue their NCAA baseball tournament run against the regional host Mississippi St. Bulldogs. The Bulldogs come into the contest as the top-seeded Starkville regional squad and 6th-seed nationally.
The Chips are hunting for their 20th straight win and to get it will require another victory over a traditional baseball power. To get here the Chips beat Miami, a multiple national title winner and frequent regional winner. Mississippi State is just as traditional a power, having been a national runner-up in 2013 and appearing in Omaha for the College World Series 10 times. The Bulldogs are looking for their 15th regional championship.
Mississippi State, affectionately known as the Diamond Dawgs, come into the contest with a 47-13-0 record this season and is expected to throw their top pitcher, Ethan Small tonight against the Chips. Small, a lefty, is a Collegiate Baseball All-American, and was named the SEC Pitcher of the Year this season. The Diamond Dawgs opened their tourney run on Friday against Southern, winning 11-6. Southern was up in the fourth inning, but allowed MSU to get their 24th come from behind win this season.
Beating the Bulldogs is a tall order in and of itself, but to do so on their home field will be a tremendous accomplishment. Attendance is expected to be near 15,000, which would be the largest crowd the Chips will have played in front of this year after last night’s 7,259 set the high water mark.
The victor of the Chips and Dogs advances to the championship game on Sunday at 9PM. The loser will play at 3PM on Sunday in an elimination game against the Miami-Florida Hurricanes or Southern. Those two squads meet in an elimination game on Saturday at 1PM.
Your need to knows for Saturdays regional action:
Game: Central Michigan vs. Mississippi State
First Pitch: 7PM ET
Location: Starkville, MS
ESPN+ Stream: Here
We’ll have full coverage here on the Belt of the Chips in action tonight as well as over on the Tweet machine, @HustleBelt.
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