Mississippi State baseball: Dudy Noble Field picked as potential NCAA Tournament host site
STARKVILLE – Postseason baseball is on its way back to Dudy Noble Field.
The NCAA released a list of 20 potential host sites for the regional round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Friday. Of those, 16 will officially host regionals during the first weekend in June. Mississippi State's Dudy Noble Field will most likely be one of them.
In normal years, the 16 host sites are determined at the end of conference tournament week. This year the NCAA wanted venues to be prepared for uniform COVID-19 related regulations and precautions with much more advanced notice.
The SEC Tournament, for example, wraps up on Sunday, May 30. Regionals are scheduled to begin later that week on Friday, June 4.
"Due to the health and safety protocols surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it was deemed necessary to conduct NCAA championship competition at predetermined sites," the NCAA stated in a release.
Whether it was a normal year or one being affected by a pandemic such as this, though, Mississippi State (35-11, 16-8 SEC) has done what it needed to do to be selected to host a regional. And a Super Regional if it advances to one, for that matter.
The Bulldogs are a consensus top-3 team in all of the major college baseball polls, including No. 3 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Mississippi State is also No. 3 in RPI, a tool the NCAA uses to set up the tournament field.
If Mississippi State does host a regional, it will be the third time in the last five seasons the program has done so. The Bulldogs are 6-0 in the last two regionals they've hosted at Dudy Noble Field.
Not looking too far ahead, MSU coach Chris Lemonis' team is in the race for a regular season SEC Championship in the final two weeks of the season. The Bulldogs are hosting Missouri this weekend and are on the road at Alabama next week. They began the week one game back of Arkansas and Tennessee.