Mississippi State Adds National Freshman Of The Year Finalist

Published 12:20 pm Sunday, July 18, 2021

STARKVILLE – Samantha Ricketts has added another standout transfer to Mississippi State softball’s impressive 2021 signing class. Matalasi Faapito, who was one of 15 finalists for the NFCA National Freshman of the Year award this spring, will join the Bulldogs as a transfer from New Mexico State.

Ricketts also announced the signing of NJCAA National Player of the Year Shea Moreno earlier on Wednesday.

Faapito started all 52 of the Aggies’ games this spring and was the only player in the country to both hit 16 or more homers and strikeout 60 or more batters. She was named the WAC Freshman of the Year and was an NFCA First Team All-Pacific Region selection.

“We are thrilled to add a two-way player of Mata’s caliber to the program,” Ricketts said. “She will make an immediate impact in our lineup with her ability to drive the ball out of the park. She will also add depth to the circle and adds experience at the collegiate level to our returning veteran roster.”

The Temecula, California, native led the WAC in slugging percentage (.791), hits (63), home runs (16) and total bases (125) in her first full collegiate season. Faapito also played with New Mexico State in the shortened 2020 season, but all players who were freshmen in either 2020 or 2021 were eligible for NFCA and WAC Freshman of the Year honors.

In 22 games in 2020, Faapito posted a .403 batting average with an .823 slugging percentage and led the team in RBIs (23). During her first week of collegiate action, she went 8-for-10 with four home runs and eight RBIs to earn WAC Hitter of the Week honors.

In the circle, she has thrown 10 complete games in 49 career appearances with 110 strikeouts. The rising junior tossed the first no-hitter in Aggie history since 2011 with five shutout innings against Tarleton State on April 16.

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