I grew up in the Left Field Lounge at Mississippi State's Dudy Noble Field. It was a great place to enjoy college baseball. It was especially great whenever LSU and the hordes of fans from Tigerland showed up at the ballpark.

Tonight the respect and the rivalry between the two storied programs opens another chapter. LSU is coming off a pretty bad stretch as far as the Tiger faithful are concerned. In fact, there was a player's only meeting among Tiger teammates in preparation for the trip to Starkville and what could be a pivotal Southeastern Conference baseball series.

LSU dropped two of three at Georgia and wild pitch woes found the Tigers on the short end of a 2-0 score Tuesday against McNeese State. Meanwhile, Mississippi State took two of three from Auburn last weekend and walloped Mississippi Valley State 18-5 on Tuesday night. The Bulldogs are ranked second in the nation.

However, national rankings and records don't really apply when LSU meets Mississippi State in baseball. Both programs are good and playing each other brings out each program's best. And while there will be a lot of trash talking in the stands and around the ballpark between fans, you can bet each side has a lot of respect for what the other side brings to the plate.

Game one is set for tonight in Starkville. First pitch is scheduled to be tossed at 6 pm Louisiana time. You can catch the game on TV on ESPNU. Game two is set for 6 pm on Friday night and the weekend series wraps up Saturday afternoon with game three set for 2 pm.