STARKVILLE, Miss. – For the second-consecutive season, the Mississippi State softball team (32-22) is dancing. Head Coach Vann Stuedeman and the Bulldogs were selected to participate in the 2013 NCAA Softball Tournament, the organization announced late Sunday night. The Maroon and White will open up tourney play vs. No. 19 Florida State (30-24) Friday at 3:30 p.m. CT in the NCAA Mobile Regional.
“Everything our conference does is designed to prepare us for postseason play,” Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. “We have been in a Super Regional every single weekend since the beginning of SEC play.”
ESPN3 will broadcast the game live, with MSU play-by-play man Anthony Craven calling the action through free live audio streaming via HailStateTV. Making its 10th NCAA Tournament appearance, MSU will look to improve upon its 4-2 record on national television during Stuedeman’s tenure.
Tickets for the NCAA Mobile Regional will go on sale to the general public at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 14th. Tickets prices are $20.00 for an all-tournament pass.
State will represent the Southeastern Conference, which sent a league-record 11 teams to the tournament. The Bulldogs have already played 16 of the 64 teams in the tournament this season, and have defeated four of the 16 teams which will host NCAA Regionals (at Florida, at Alabama, at Texas A&M and vs. LSU).
“We played a great schedule,” Stuedeman explained. “We are battle tested and it is time to go dancing.”
Starkville’s Team is 9-18 all-time in the Big Dance, including an 0-1 record against Florida State. The Seminoles eliminated MSU from the 2009 NCAA Tournament in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional by a score of 5-0 on May 16, 2009. The Bulldogs own a two-game winning streak against the Garnet and Gold, however, with both wins coming in March 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., as part of the SEC/ACC Challenge. State owns a 7-6 overall record vs. the Noles all-time.
The Bulldogs are also no strangers to No. 18 South Alabama and Mississippi Valley State, the other two teams in the NCAA Mobile Regional. State lost a thrilling 3-2 contest to the host Jaguars in the 2013 series opener in Starkville Feb. 7, and defeated the Delta Devilettes by a 1-0 score last month thanks to a three-hit complete-game shutout by senior lefty Stephanie Becker. Stuedeman’s squad is 2-1 all-time against the Jaguars, and 23-1 all-time against its in-state counterparts.
Mobile has been a friendly place for Stuedeman and company, having gone a perfect 4-0 at the 2012 Mardi Gras Invitational in Stuedeman’s first weekend as the skipper of the Bulldogs. Last year’s series opener, in the same stadium as Friday’s NCAA opener, was a 7-2 victory against the very same Jaguars hosting this weekend’s regional.
NCAA Mobile Regional Schedule (All Times Central)
Game 1 – Friday, May 17, 3:30 p.m. – Mississippi State vs. Florida State*
Game 2 – Friday, May 17, 6 p.m. – Mississippi Valley State vs. South Alabama*
Game 3 – Saturday, May 18, 1 p.m. – Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2
Game 4 – Saturday, May 18, 3:30 p.m. – Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2
Game 5 – Saturday, May 18, 6 p.m. – Loser of Game 3 vs. Winner of game 4
Game 6 – Sunday, May 19, 3:30 p.m. – Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 5
Game 7 – Sunday, May 19, 6 p.m. – Winner of Game 6 vs. Loser of Game 6^
* Designated Home Team
^ If Necessary
MSU By The Numbers: NCAA Tournament
Appearances: 10 (Counting 2013)
Overall Record: 9-18
In Opening Games: 5-4
Vs. Ranked Teams: 0-13
Vs. ACC: 0-1
Vs. Sun Belt: 1-2
Vs. SWAC: Never Played