The Bulldogs, which received two votes in Tuesday's ESPN.com/USA Softball Top-25 poll, finished the opening weekend of play ranked first in the SEC in opponent batting average (.120), fewest hits allowed (10) and tied for first in fewest runs allowed (six). Additionally, the Maroon and White sit second in the league with 39 strikeouts are tied for fourth in the conference with a microscopic 1.40 ERA.
State's pitching, led by Head Coach Vann Stuedeman, will have to contend with the notorious Ragin' Cajuns' offense, which led the country last season with 7.81 runs per game en route to an appearance in the NCAA Super Regional. Through the first three games of 2013, UL is averaging 8.7 runs per contest.
Wednesday's game will mark the home opener from the Ragin' Cajuns, who are 60-2 in Lamson Park dating back to the beginning of the 2011 season. Mississippi State is 0-2 in Lafayette since restarting its program in 1997 and has not captured a win there since a doubleheader sweep on April 7, 1986. Overall, UL holds an 11-3 series lead over State.
The two teams last met on Feb. 24, 2012, at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla., where the Maroon and White fell by a 6-3 score. Going up against the nation's top offense that was averaging 12 runs per game heading into the contest, MSU gave up just three earned runs and held All-American and Team USA member Christi Orgeron to an 0-for-4 performance.
Offensively, Mississippi's own Ashley Phillips (Water Valley, Miss.) will lead the charge for the Maroon and White. This past weekend, the righty was named Bulldog Kickoff Classic MVP after batting .417 in four starts with three RBIs, two runs and two walks. In just four games, the sophomore matched her freshman hit total of five, while her four stolen bases and two doubles place fifth in the SEC after the opening week of play.
Following its first road game of the 2013 campaign, the Bulldogs return back to the Dawg Diamond in Mississippi's College Town to host the 2013 Bulldog Battle. The tournament begins Friday with three games starting at 12 p.m. at the MSU Softball Stadium. The Bulldogs however do not play until a noon doubleheader on Saturday followed by a noon doubleheader on Sunday. For more information on MSU Softball, follow the program on Twitter at @MStateSB and like them on Facebook.com/MStateSB.