Mississippi State coach Andy Cannizaro is returning to Baton Rouge this weekend to face his former team, LSU, with a trip to the College World Series on the line.

The best-of-three series will begin at 8 p.m. Saturday. Game 2 will be at the same time Sunday, and Game 3 will be played Monday if necessary. 

Game 1 will be carried on ESPN2, while Game 2 will air on either ESPN 2 or ESPNU. Monday's if necessary game has four possible time slots. It can be played at noon, 3, 6 or 7:30 p.m. 

The Tigers swept Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., in final weekend of the regular season to win the Southeastern Conference Western Division and share the conference title with Florida.

Cannizaro stopped by "Culotta & T-Bob" on 104.5 FM ESPN in Baton Rouge on Wednesday morning. Here are a few highlights from the interview.

On revenge factor heading into super regional...

"I, personally, am over-the-top excited but not nearly as excited as our team is to get another opportunity to play LSU. I certainly think we're a better team right now than when we were three weeks ago when we played LSU.

"...Our guys are not, will not be scared (of playing LSU in Baton Rouge). It was just one short year ago where a Mississippi State team went into Alex Box (Stadium) and won two out of three. It's not a place where they haven't had very much success."


On centerfielder's Zach Watson hot streak at the plate and emergence as an elite centerfielder...

"I'm extremely proud of what Zach has done this year ... He was a high school shortstop when we recruited Zach and certainly thought he could play on the infield at LSU. But he's one of the fastest guys on the team. All of his tools basically just scream, 'centerfield.' ... Just watching some of the plays he's made in the past couple of weeks on TV, it certainly looks like he's fitting in nicely.

"He hit some of the furthest high school home runs to left field that I'd ever seen from a Louisiana high school kid ... He's very direct and flat through the zone. If you leave something middle-in to Zach, he's got a chance to pull it out the yard to left field and hit it a very long way. He's a guy who's going to grow into more power the bigger and stronger he gets. And maybe he turns into some type of Mikie Mahtook player at LSU."


On Mississippi State -- not LSU -- leading the SEC in fielding percentage...

"We have defended it at an ultra-high level ... That starts up the middle for you. We have an outstanding shortstop, our first-team All-SEC shortstop Ryan Gridley who's having a sensational season. I believe we have the best defensive second baseman in the SEC, Hunter Stovall ... a younger version of an (LSU second baseman) Cole Freeman ... And Jake Mangum in centerfield has done a tremendous job for us as well.  And then we've got a fifth-year senior, Josh Lovelady, behind the plate that's just does an outstanding job controlling a younger pitching staff."


On the return trip to Baton Rouge as a visitor...

"It's been incredible. Our two-and-a-half years in Baton Rouge, I loved it; my family loved it ...  We have received phone calls and text messages for the last 48 hours just in terms of restaurants wanting to bring us in there and provide and get our team in there dinner, lunch and breakfast. It's just the number of people calling wanting to know what time you practice so they can come ... It's been really neat and says a lot for the people in Baton Rouge how highly they think of college baseball..."


On the rematch vs. his former boss, LSU coach Paul Mainieri...

"I sure hope (Mainieri) would play it down. He's sure not going to get a hit. I'm not going to field a ground ball, that's a fact. The biggest thing for him and for us is he's going to do everything he can to prepare his team. They're on a 'mission' or a 'goal' to get back to Omaha. Well guess what? We have the same exact goal, the same exact mission, to get to Omaha. And we're going to LSU -- our group of players are ready for the challenge. Their group of players are ready for the challenge..."


Click here to listen to the full interview.