Mississippi State softball’s late-season surge has paid dividends.
The Bulldogs earned their fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance Sunday night and will be a No. 2 seed in Oklahoma State’s Stillwater Regional. Their first matchup in the double-elimination tournament is slated against No. 3 seed Boston University at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Cowgirl Stadium. Boston University comes into the matchup with a 36-2 record but were knocked down to a No. 3 seed because of its strength of schedule. The other matchup Friday will be No. 1 Oklahoma State against No. 4 Campbell. Oklahoma State is the fifth seed overall nationally in the NCAA tournament.
“We are excited to get on the road to Stillwater and get back to postseason after the shortened 2020 season,” MSU coach Samantha Ricketts said in a news release. “Oklahoma State has had a great year. There’s definitely a challenge in front of us with them, but we can’t overlook Boston University or Campbell. They’ve had great seasons too with the success that they’ve had in their conferences. We’re looking to continue what we’ve been doing in the month of May. That’s taking care of the little things, timely hitting, pitching with our whole staff and taking care of the details. We’re continuing to build out confidence at the right time of the year. We’re excited to get going and get back to practice.”
MSU comes into the matchup red hot, winning eight of its last 10 games. The NCAA tournament appearance is the 16th in MSU program history and its eighth postseason berth in nine seasons, as the Bulldogs come into the regional at No. 29 in the NCAA RPI. The Bulldogs played the eighth-toughest schedule in the nation, and 16 of its 22 losses came to teams ranked in the latest NFCA Coaches’ poll.
The winner of the Stillwater Regional will advance to super regionals to the face the winner of the Austin Regional, hosted by No. 12 Texas. Should MSU win the regional, it would be the first time in program history it made a NCAA Super Regional.
Hodge is the former sports editor for The Dispatch.