STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/MSU Athletics) — A team-leading .545 batting average and three multi-hit games has helped net SEC Player of the Week honors for Bulldog senior catcher Nick Ammirati.
The Sparta, N.J., native, who had split starting duties behind the dish with Mitch Slauter for much of the season, has put together a five-game hitting streak since taking over full-time starting duties following a recent injury to Slauter.
Ammirati (.321) went 6-for-11 and paced State with three runs scored and three RBI last weekend. Ammirati sports a .342 batting average in league play, the team’s second-highest after six weeks of league play.
Four of Ammirati’s six multi-hit games have come over his last four games. With the NCAA’s second-largest on-campus crowd (14,562) looking on at Dudy Noble Field, Ammirati went 2-for3 and drove in a pair of runs as the Bulldogs blanked the Tigers 6-0 to nail down their third straight league series.
BULLDOGS PREPARE FOR MEMPHIS
After reeling off its third consecutive SEC series win last weekend at Dudy Noble Field, No. 12 Mississippi State (32-10/10-8 SEC) heads to Memphis Tuesday to begin a four-game run of road games in the Volunteer State.
The Bulldogs take on CUSA foe Memphis (25-16) in a 6:30 p.m. game at spacious AutoZone Park Tuesday. It’s State’s fifth all-time appearance at the home of the St. Louis Cardinals’ AAA Pacific Coast League franchise, the Memphis Redbirds. The radio broadcast of the game will be available on the statewide Bulldog Sports Network and available online to HailStateTV subscribers (http://www.hailstate.com/hstvlive).
Two veteran pitchers are set for starts in Tuesday’s game in the Bluff City. Junior righty Evan Mitchell (0-1, 4.12), making his first start and appearance since Mar. 23, will pitch opposite Tiger senior southpaw Michael Wills (3-2, 1.96).
Tuesday’s game is the second half of a twinbill at AutoZone Park that opens with a 2 p.m. matchup between the Memphis Redbirds and the Iowa Cubs. Special ticket and concessions prices (www.MemphisRedbirds.com) will be offered in conjunction with the Redbirds’ usual “TWOs-Day” promotionals available at Memphis’ Tuesday home games.
State pitching registered its sixth shutout of the campaign Saturday as the Bulldogs blanked Auburn in the deciding third game of the MSU-AU series. A wall-to-wall crowd of 14,562 was on hand for the game, the second-largest Dudy Noble Field and NCAA on-campus attendance mark. During the weekend Dudy Noble Field hosted its 27th and 28th attendances of 10,000 or more.
Memphis, coached by former Mississippi State pitching coach Daron Schoenrock, has compiled an impressive 6-1 record against SEC teams (Alabama, Missouri and Ole Miss) in 2013, including last week’s 4-0 shutout of Ole Miss in Memphis.
The Bulldogs wrap up their April schedule this weekend in Nashville, Tenn., taking on third-ranked and SEC-leading Vanderbilt (35-6/16-2) in a three-game series. Game times are 6:30 p.m. Friday, 12 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at VU’s Charles Hawkins Field.