STARKVILLE, Miss. – For the second-straight weekend, Mississippi State faces a top-five Southeastern Conference opponent, traveling to No. 4/4 Tennessee for three games. First pitch Friday in Knoxville is set for 5 p.m. CT. Saturday will start at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
MSU goes into this weekend with a 33-14 record, the best 47-game mark in program history. Mississippi State’s 33 regular-season wins match the 2012 squad’s regular-season victory mark and are one more than the 2013 team tallied. The Bulldogs have not had more than 33 regular-season wins since recording 40 in 2008.
A pair of Bulldogs will be looking for career achievements while at Tennessee. Head coach Vann Stuedeman will be looking for career victory No. 100 as she enters the weekend with 99 victories at MSU. She took over the program prior to the 2012 campaign and has made two NCAA Tournaments. Senior Alison Owen enters the series with 443 career strikeouts, just eight behind Stephanie Becker (2010-13/451) for the all-time Mississippi State whiff record.
The Lady Vols hold a 30-15 advantage in the all-time series, but the squads have not met since the 2012 campaign. From 2008 to 2009, MSU won four-of-seven meetings. In the seven contests between the two since, Tennessee has won six. The Bulldogs have gone 8-14 in Knoxville and have won three of the last six there.
In the last series between the two, Tennessee swept MSU in Starkville from March 23-25, 2012. The Lady Vols won the opener 8-0 in five innings as Ellen Renfroe held MSU to just three hits, all singles, and fanned eight. Raven Chavanne led the Tennessee offense with three hits and two runs scored. Madison Shipman and Melissa Davin each drove in two. In game two, Tennessee scored six runs in the top of the first and won 10-3. Sam Lenahan drove in two runs for the Bulldogs while Brittany Gates and Jessica Cooley each had two hits. Shipman had another big game with three hits, a run scored and a run batted in. Lauren Gibson went three-for-four with four RBI and three runs scored. The finale went to the Lady Vols 8-0 in five. Brittany Bell and Lenahan combined for four of Mississippi State’s five hits. Kat Dotson and Shelby Burchell each had two hits for Tennessee.
After this weekend’s three-game set, the Bulldogs have nearly a week off before returning home for senior weekend with a three-game series versus Arkansas. First pitch Friday, April 25, is set for 5 p.m. CT while the Saturday and Sunday games will begin at noon.