#33 Mississippi State Softball 2017 Preview

Mississippi State Bulldogs
Overall Rank: #33
Conference Rank: #11 SEC
Mississippi State Logo
For Mississippi State what a difference a year can make. In 2015 the team set single-season records for batting average, home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. Star pitcher Alexis Silkwood finished the year with a 26-16 record and a 2.85 ERA.  The team had made four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances winning 33 or more games in each of those seasons. Then came 2016 and the wheels came off the program that seemed on the way up. They finished the year with a 26-31 record. Some of the causes for it included unsteady pitching, lack of power hitting and the inexperience that comes with fielding a young team.
2016: 26-31, 3-21
2016 Postseason: None
Coach: Vann Stuedeman
Key Departed Players:
Kayla Winkfield, IF, .330 BA, 1 HR, 24 RBI
Loryn Nichols, OF, .282 BA, 0 HR, 0 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Alexis Silkwood, P, 3.10 ERA, 117.1 IP, 64 SO
Regan Green, P, 1.88 ERA, 82.0 IP, 92 SO
Holly Ward, P, 2.74 ERA, 102.1 IP, 70 SO
Mackenzie Toler, UTL, .299 BA, 2 HR, 22 RBI
Caroline Seitz, IF, .282 BA, 5 HR, 31 RBI
Emily Heimberger, IF, .272 BA, 0 HR, 6 RBI
Katie Anne Bailey, C/UTL, .271 BA, 3 HR, 30 RBI
Look for the Mississippi State Bulldogs to get back on track this year. The team only lost two starting players, Loryn Nichols and Kayla Winkfield, both skilled base runners and in the case of Winkfield the teams fielding leader. They also have a big returning class of young players who now have another year of experience under their belts. If pitcher Alexis Silkwood can have a strong year that should also help the team overcome many of the hitting woes they suffered through last season that saw them finish last in the SEC in many hitting related categories. I look for the Bulldogs to get back on track this year and begin a new streak of post season appearances.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament