MSU softball team to play in Arizona regional

MSU softball team
Staff Writer

For the sixth time in Vann Stuedeman's seven years in Starkville, Mississippi State is heading to the NCAA softball regionals. 

The Bulldogs (36-21) celebrated their selection to the tournament in the Leo Seal Jr. football complex on Sunday night. The destination is Arizona where the No. 14 Wildcats will host St. Francis and MSU will play against North Dakota State. 

"North Dakota State is notorious for upsets," Stuedeman said. "People overlook them so we want to make sure that we're prepared and not overlooking anyone. St. Francis leads the country in grand slams and are playing in Arizona where the air is thin. Arizona is one of the elite programs. All of us have been enamored with Arizona softball. We'll all be big-eyed, but we'll be ready to go."

The selection comes on the back of MSU's first Southeastern Conference Tournament win since 2005 when the Bulldogs knocked off Texas A&M 2-0 in the first round before being knocked out by eventual Runners Up South Carolina. 

In a testament to the conference that Stuedeman and her team play in each week, nine of the 16 host sites this week will be from the SEC. In addition to that, every single team in the conference made the tournament for the second-straight year. 

"The league is incredible," Stuedeman said. "I've said every year I've been here that every weekend is a Super Regional and we are prepared for a Super Regional. Every game is tight. Every game feels like a postseason game."

The real postseason starts this weekend as MSU begins its NCAA journey on Friday at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 as the Bulldogs are hoping to win their first tourney game since 2015. 

Senior pitcher Holly Ward helped State to its SEC Tournament win and she's been through the rigors of SEC play over her career. She's fully prepared for this weekend and the challenges that it will bring. 

"We're excited that we're going to continue to play," Ward said. "We're ready to get out there in play in Arizona."