Mississippi State Hosts Bulldog Kickoff Classic

Published 3:22 pm Friday, February 18, 2022

STARKVILLE – Coming off a run-rule victory to complete a doubleheader sweep in its home opener, Mississippi State will look to keep momentum rolling at the Bulldog Kickoff Classic this weekend.


State (3-3) will play five games over the three-day event (Feb. 18-20). MSU is set to meet Southern Illinois at 3 p.m. CT and Central Arkansas at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. The Bulldogs will play Georgia Tech at 12:30 p.m. and Central Arkansas again at 3 p.m. on Saturday with those games available on SEC Network+. The tournament concludes with a rematch against Georgia Tech at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

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Southern Illinois is making a trip to Starkville for a tournament for the second year in a row. Last year, the Salukis played in The Snowman in late February and defeated MSU in extra innings. Central Arkansas and MSU played a midweek contest last spring as well, with MSU winning in walk-off fashion, 4-3.


The Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets last met in the 2019 edition of the Snowman and played three times. State won two of those matchups, including one by run rule.


Admission to MSU softball games is always free. The Friday night contest against Central Arkansas is State’s Greek Attendance Challenge with a prize for the Greek house with the highest percentage of its members in attendance. Fans are encouraged to wear maroon on Friday. Sunday’s game is MSU’s military appreciation game.


Game Coverage

Friday, Feb. 18

10 a.m. – Central Arkansas at Georgia Tech | Live Stats

12:30 p.m. – Southern Illinois at Georgia Tech | Live Stats

3 p.m. – Southern Illinois at Mississippi State | Live Stats

5:30 p.m. – Central Arkansas at Mississippi State | Live Stats


Saturday, Feb. 19

10 a.m. – Georgia Tech at Southern Illinois | Live Stats

12:30 p.m. – Georgia Tech at Mississippi State | Watch on SEC Network+ | Live Stats

3 p.m. – Central Arkansas at Mississippi State | Watch on SEC Network+ | Live Stats

5:30 p.m. – Southern Illinois at Central Arkansas | Live Stats


Sunday, Feb. 20

11 a.m. – Georgia Tech at Mississippi State | Live Stats


Leading Off

Brylie’s Bat: Brylie St. Clair is on a tear to open the season. She’s leading the team with a .438 batting average (7-for-16) and is second on the team with a .563 slugging percentage. St. Clair has a pair of three-hit games already this year.


In A Pinch: The Bulldogs are 5-for-7 (.714) when pinch hitting this season. State sent four pinch hitters to the plate in Game 2 against Alabama State (Feb. 16) and went 4-for-4 with three of the hits going for extra bases.


In The Zone: MSU’s pitchers are averaging just 1.83 walks allowed per game against 6.83 strikeouts per game. Kenley Hawk ranks seventh nationally in strikeouts per seven innings (13.7).


Lineup Log: Samantha Ricketts used 33 different batting orders and 17 different fielding alignments in her starting lineups in 2021. She has used a unique card in every game this season, with six different batting orders and five defensive alignments.


First Hit Homers: Three Bulldogs have seen their first hit of the year leave the yard. Matalasi Faapito homered in her first Bulldog at-bat over opening weekend. Shea Moreno and Aquana Brownlee homered for their first hits of the year in the doubleheader against Alabama State (Feb. 16).


Record Watch: Mia Davidson is just one home run away from tying the SEC career record set by Florida’s Lauren Haeger (71).


Home Sweet Home: State holds a 126-45 record in Nusz Park (.737) since 2016.


Commanding The Circle: Aspen Wesley has allowed just three earned runs in 24.0 innings pitched (0.88 ERA) over her last nine appearances. She is 4-0 in that span.


Our Saviors: Annie Willis and Matalasi Faapito have both recorded one save in State’s three wins already this year.


About the Opponents

Southern Illinois (2-2, 0-0 MVC)

Rankings: NFCA Coaches – NR | USA Softball – NR | Softball America – NR | D1Softball – NR

Head coach: Kerri Blaylock | at SIU: 747-407-1 (23rd Year) | Career: 747-407-1 (23rd Year)

Batting Average: .234; Runs Per Game: 4.8; Hits Per Game: 5.5; Slugging Percentage: .415

ERA: 2.33; K/7: 6.1; K/BB Ratio: 1.8; Opp. Batting Avg: .183


Central Arkansas (1-4, 0-0 Southland)

Rankings: NFCA Coaches – NR | USA Softball – NR | Softball America – NR | D1Softball – NR

Head coach: Jenny Parsons | at UCA: 1-4 (1st Year) | Career: 170-211 (8th Year)

Batting Average: .213; Runs Per Game: 1.8; Hits Per Game: 5.8; Slugging Percentage: .250

ERA: 4.33; K/7: 4.1; K/BB Ratio: 1.6; Opp. Batting Avg: .295


Georgia Tech (5-0, 0-0 ACC)

Rankings: NFCA Coaches – NR | USA Softball – NR | Softball America – NR | D1Softball – NR

Head coach: Aileen Morales | at GT: 96-90 (5th Year) | Career: 209-195 (9th Year)

Batting Average: .385; Runs Per Game: 7.4; Hits Per Game: 10.0; Slugging Percentage: .623

ERA: 1.31; K/7: 9.2; K/BB Ratio: 2.8; Opp. Batting Avg: .179


On Deck

The Bulldogs head on the road next week for a neutral site matchup with UT Martin in Lexington, Tennessee. State will meet the Skyhawks at 5:30 p.m. CT on Feb. 23.


Follow the Bulldogs

For more information on the Bulldog softball program, follow on TwitterFacebook and Instagram by searching “HailStateSB.”