STARKVILLE, Miss. – Coming off a four-game sweep during its most recent home stand, the Mississippi State softball team hits the road this weekend to take part in the first Mississippi Gulf Coast Softball Classic in Gulfport, Miss.
“I am just ecstatic about this tournament,” head coach Vann Stuedeman said. “The city of Gulfport and David D’Aquilla have done a first-class job in organizing this tournament. It’s going to be an exciting atmosphere at a great venue.
“I love being able to go south so all the Bulldog fans in the southern part of the state can come see us play without having to drive so far.”
The Bulldogs are off to the second-best start in program history at 14-0. The only club to begin the year with a better record than the current group is the 2006 squad that began at 16-0.
Pitching has been the backbone of the strong start as the team has surrendered just seven runs in the initial 14 contests, the fewest in program history.
In the batter’s box, senior Sam Lenahan helped the offense last week, posting a .444 batting average with nine runs batted in, four runs scored, three home runs and a 1.444 slugging percentage.
“Sam, number one, is a brilliant young lady,” Stuedeman said. “She brings those smarts to softball and has turned into a great leader during the three years I’ve been here. She’s a coaches’ dream. I know she’s going to do the right thing and represent us in the right way all the time. She’s become an extension of the coaching staff.”
Mississippi State opens this weekend’s slate with a 2 p.m. CT Friday contest against UTSA before taking on No. 12/12 Baylor at 8. Saturday, the Bulldogs play Memphis at noon and Nicholls State at 3 p.m. MSU wraps up the weekend Sunday with a 10 a.m. game versus Ohio and a 1 p.m. tilt against Texas State.