#39 Mississippi State Softball Preview

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Overall Rank: #39
Conference Rank: #8 SEC
Mississippi State College Softball Top 25 Team Previews
Mississippi State Team Page


Going into her second season as the Mississippi State Head Coach, Vann Stuedeman continues to raise expectations and be optimistic about her squad’s progress.  “We are looking forward to the spring of 2013. We are encouraged about the way the team is advancing in all aspects.  They are committed to the process of what it takes to build a championship program.”  The Bulldogs return 15 letter winners and an experienced transfer from a team that finished seventh in the SEC and reached an NCAA Regional.  Their commitment will be tested with the school’s toughest schedule ever.  It includes 24 games against teams that made the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

2012: 33-23, 12-16
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Vann Stuedeman, 2nd Season

Field Players:
Senior leftfielder, Jessica Cooley, led the team with 15 home runs and was National Player of the Week in March 2012. Coach Stuedeman says, “She was instrumental to our success last year both on and off the field. She is a natural born leader.” Junior Sam Lenahan moves back to her natural position behind the plate after a year playing third base.  “She has great poise behind the dish and is able to relate to the different nuances of the pitching staff,” the skipper related.

Coach Stuedeman feels good about her bullpen going into 2013.  “We have depth in the pitching staff with two lefty seniors Stephanie Becker and Kylie Vry, the addition of junior transfer Alison Owen (Georgia), junior Shana Sherrod, and freshman Jacey Punches.  Similar to last year we will use a baseball style rotation with a starter, middle relief and closer.”  The head coach will lean on Becker.  “The senior pitcher has worked relentlessly to return from a season ending injury last year. The team competes incredibly hard for her and that is a testament to Stephanie and the type of teammate she is.”

Who to Watch:
The Bulldogs welcome six new players, four freshmen and two transfers.  Coach Stuedeman is excited about revving up her offense a little with some of the new talent. “Freshmen Loryn Nichols and Kayla Winkfield will add a component of the game that never slumps - speed.”

Final Projection:
In her first year at the helm, Coach Stuedeman’s crew won nine more games than in 2011, two more in SEC play.  Expect Mississippi State’s continued improvement as the new players transform the culture and lineup.  “We have a gritty group that loves softball and more importantly, loves to compete.  They are a great group of young women that make my job incredibly fun,” Stuedeman says.  The Bulldogs should finish top eight in the league, make the SEC post season tournament and qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Sam Lenahan, C, 168
Hits: Sam Lenahan, C, 54
Home Runs: Jessica Cooley, OF, 15
RBIs: Jessica Cooley, OF, 41
Runs: Jessica Cooley, OF, 37
Stolen Bases: Jessica Offutt, OF, 17

Wins: Stephanie Becker, P, 18
Innings Pitched: Stephanie Becker, P, 182.2
Strikeouts: Stephanie Becker, P, 163
Saves: Kylie Vry, P, 3

Madness 2013 NPF Draft Rankings:
#12 Jessica Cooley


See All Softball Top 44 Team Previews