Lafayette, La. Regional Preview – Mississippi St. Bulldogs
The Mississippi St. Bulldogs, members of the SEC, are one of four teams that will be vying for the championship in the Lafayette, La. NCAA Softball Regional at Lamson Park this weekend.Mississippi St., who will come into the regional with an RPI ranking of 33, is 35-19 on the year, after losing their first game in the SEC Tournament, 8-0, to Missouri.
The Bulldogs finished tied for ninth in the 13-team SEC this season, with a 10-14 record, which equaled South Carolina, and was two games behind eighth-place Texas A&M.
Making a second-consecutive regional appearance in Lafayette, Mississippi St. is hitting a .318 as a team, along with 52 home runs, 288 runs batted in, and 95 stolen bases in 109 attempts.
Offensively, the Bulldogs have a little pop, with the second-most home runs in the regional, but can really create havoc on the base paths, with 95 steals, featuring two players in Loryn Nichols (31) and Kelly Winkfield (25) who have 25 or more stolen bases.
Junior shortstop Katie Ann Bailey is a solid two-hole hitter, leading Mississippi St. in hitting with a .351 batting average, along with 5 home runs, 33 runs batted in, and 11 steals, making her yet another threat to run.
The Bulldogs also have a little power, in sophomore third baseman Caroline Seitz, who leads the squad with 13 homers and 51 RBI’s, and senior second baseman Julia Echols, who is second on the team in homers, with nine.
Pitching-wise, Mississippi St. brings in an overall combined earned run average of 3.75 into the regional.
Sophomore left-hander Alexis Silkwood, who also plays the outfield when not in the circle, is the ace, sporting a 25-14 record, with a 2.81 ERA, while accumulating 216.2 innings inside of the circle.
Freshman right-hander Holly Ward is the only other pitcher for Mississippi St. that has logged more than 45 innings, compiling a 6-3 record, with a 5.98 ERA. over 64.1 innings.
Mississippi St. finished sixth in the Big Sky Conference in hitting (.317), eleventh in pitching (3.75), and ninth in fielding (.962) in 2015.
The Bulldogs, who will be making their 12th regional appearance, are 3-12 all-time, against Louisiana, including an 0-1 record in the postseason.
Mississippi St. did not play the Cajuns in last year's Lafayette, La. Regional, defeating Texas Southern, while losing twice to Texas.
The Bulldogs are a dangerous team. They’ve played a great schedule, with impressive wins over some of the best teams in the country like Notre Dame, Georgia, Florida, and LSU, all of who are tops seeds in their respective regions, and while they simply don't have the pitching depth to compete for a championship in a quality league, such as the SEC, they're more than capable of knocking off anybody in one single game, and may be equipped to play well for three days over a regional, and pull off a surprise by winning it.
The winner of the Baylor/Mississippi St. game will face the Louisiana/Weber St. winner on Saturday at 3:30 pm, while the two losers will meet in an elimination game on Saturday at 6 o’clock.
View the season statistics for Mississippi St. here.
Get more information on the Lafayette, La. Regional here.
View the complete NCAA softball bracket here.