STARKVILLE, Miss. – After narrowly missing out on the Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament in 2013, Mississippi State returns to the event in 2014 as the No. 10 seed, opening against No. 7 seed Kentucky.
First pitch Wednesday from Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field in Columbia, S.C. will be at 3 p.m. CT. The game will be televised live on ESPNU. Pam Ward and Michele Smith will have the call.
The Bulldogs are 38-18, good for the second-best 56-game record in program history. MSU’s 38 wins are the third most in a regular season in program history and tied for the fourth most during any campaign by a Bulldog squad.
MSU enters the single-elimination SEC Tournament with a 10-14 conference record. In Mississippi State’s last appearance in the tournament, it lost 5-2 to No. 3 Alabama on May 10, 2012. Mississippi State’s overall record at the event is 11-20. This is the first time since the 2007 event that MSU has not opened against Alabama.
Versus Kentucky, the Bulldogs hold a 28-21 advantage in the all-time series. After winning 23 of the first 31 meetings between the two, MSU has gone 5-13 in the last 18 contests and went 1-2 this year in Starkville. This will be just the second neutral-site game. The other was in 1999 at the UTC Frost Cutlery Tournament.
In early March, MSU opened the Southeastern Conference portion of the season hosting Kentucky. The Wildcats won the opener 4-0 as Kelsey Nunley threw a no-hitter. A two-run home run from Ansley Smith and a solo shot from Ginny Carroll provided the majority of the offense for UK. In the second contest, the teams were tied 1-1 until the bottom of the seventh, when MSU freshman Katie Anne Bailey hit a walk-off single that plated junior Ashley Phillips. Kentucky took the series with a 5-0 Sunday triumph. UK scored four runs in the top of the fourth, aided by a three-run home run from Krystal Smith. Nikki Sagermann added a solo long ball and run-scoring single.
If Mississippi State wins on Wednesday, the Bulldogs will continue SEC Tournament play on Thursday with a 12:30 p.m. CT contest versus No. 2 seed Tennessee. That game will also be televised on ESPNU.