A Super Season In Review

Published 1:22 pm Monday, June 20, 2022

STARKVILLE – Mississippi State softball took things a step further in 2022. After the 2021 season saw the Bulldogs return to the NCAA Tournament for their fourth consecutive appearance and reach the regional championship game for the third time in a row, this spring was historic.


State (37-27) eliminated No. 2 national seed Florida State to win the Tallahassee Regional – despite losing its NCAA Tournament opener, marking the program’s first trip to the Super Regional round. The Bulldogs also earned the right to host a postseason game for the first time, welcoming Arizona to Starkville in front of the largest collegiate softball crowds in the history of the state of Mississippi (2,299 and 2,209).

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MSU achieved its highest final ranking ever in both the NFCA (No. 19) and USA Softball (No. 20) polls. D1Softball.com ranked State at No. 17, and Softball America labeled MSU the No. 15 team in the nation. The Bulldogs owned the No. 4 strength of schedule in the nation and played 10 games against NFCA Top 5 teams. That was the second most top-five games in school history behind 2016 (16).


Mia Davidson was a consensus First Team All-American and a unanimous selection by the NFCA. She was named the NFCA/Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year along with earning Second Team CoSIDA All-American status.


Leading Off

Super Dawgs: MSU advanced to the first Super Regional in program history and hosted Arizona. The Bulldogs won four straight elimination games in the Tallahassee Regional to become the first team to advance after losing its regional opener since Texas in 2019.


Toppling Two in Tallahassee: The Bulldogs won consecutive games against No. 2 Florida State, marking the first time a No. 1 or No. 2 national seed has been eliminated in the regional round.


Dawgs In The Draft: Mia Davidson and Annie Willis were selected in this year’s Athletes Unlimited and Women’s Pro Fastpitch drafts, respectively. MSU was one of four programs nationally with multiple draft picks in the two leagues (Arkansas, Texas and Florida State).


Lineup Log: Samantha Ricketts used 43 different batting orders and 24 different defensive alignments to start the game. She used 17 or more players in a game 13 times.


All Hail The Queen: Davidson closed her career with 92 home runs, which is the most in SEC baseball or softball history and tied for third in NCAA softball history.


On The Rise: Ricketts has improved the Bulldogs’ win total every year from 25 in the shortened 2020 season to 35 a year ago to 37 in 2022.


Johnson’s Jump: In the three years prior to Josh Johnson‘s arrival as pitching coach, MSU struck out 6.19 batters per seven innings and walked 3.47. In three seasons under Johnson, the Bulldogs have averaged 7.54 strikeouts and just 2.90 walks. MSU has also been among the top five SEC teams in strikeouts in all three years.


Madi Making Plays: Madisyn Kennedy led the SEC lead with 114 assists, and her 53 assists in SEC games ranked second in the league. She turned nine double plays.


Records and Milestones

Team Game Records: MSU and Middle Tennessee (3/30) combined to score 33 runs in a 19-14 Bulldog victory, surpassing the previous mark of 23, which was achieved twice. The Bulldogs hit a school-record six homers twice this year: against the Blue Raiders and at Memphis (3/23). State’s 13-inning game against Tennessee (5/12) was the longest game in SEC Tournament history and the Bulldogs’ third-longest on record.


Team Season Records: The Bulldogs hit a school-record 73 homers, marking the fourth time the record has fallen since Samantha Ricketts arrived as an assistant coach. State’s 312 runs are its fourth-highest scoring total in a season, and its 282 RBIs are fifth. MSU also tied the school record for sacrifice flies (17). Bulldog pitchers struck out 98 batters looking, which is third in MSU history.


Team NCAA Tournament Records: MSU reached the Super Regionals for the first time and set records for tournament games played (7), wins (4), shutouts (2), hits (44), walks (12) and stolen bases (6) in a season. State’s five stolen bases vs. Howard (5/21) broke the program’s single-game tournament record.


Individual Game Records: Paige Cook tied Hayle Guess (2007) and Iyhia McMichael (2003) with seven RBIs in a game when she did so at Middle Tennessee (3/30). Mia Davidson drove in six against Longwood (2/25), which is tied for fourth. Davidson’s 13 total bases on three homers against the Lancers were one better than her previous school-record, three-homer game against Washington in 2019.


Individual Season Records: Mia Davidson hit 23 homers, which is second only to her school-record 26 in 2019, and posted an .854 slugging percentage, which ranks second. Her 140 total bases are eighth. Davidson tied the school record with 22 hit-by-pitches this year. Davidson (3rd, .580) and Chloe Malau’ulu (10th, .465) are the only pair of Bulldog teammates in the top 10 of State’s single-season SEC-only on-base percentage records.Annie Willis‘ 7.38 strikeouts per seven innings in SEC play were second only to Alison Owen (7.44, 2013). Willis and Kenley Hawk each posted two SEC shutouts to tie Kelli Miller’s (2005) school record.


Individual Career Records: Mia Davidson ended her career holding school records in games played and started (270), slugging percentage (.775), home runs (92), runs scored (219), RBIs (220), total bases (610), hit-by-pitches (57), runners picked off (13), defensive chances (1759), putouts (1555) and runners thrown out (57). Annie Willis closed her time in the Maroon and White sitting at 10th all-time with a 2.35 ERA and 35 wins. Her 3.57 ERA in conference play only was fifth in school history. Willis’ 7.93 strikeouts per seven innings ranks second in school history, and she was one of seven Bulldogs to record 370 or more career strikeouts.


Individual NCAA Tournament Records: Mia Davidson now holds records for the most career games played and started (19), at-bats (52), runs (9), hits (13), homers (5), total bases (28) and walks (13) in the tournament. Aspen Wesley has tied the record for career pitching appearances (8) and wins (3). Her six appearances in 2022 are an MSU single tournament record, as are her four starts and two complete games. Annie Willis has also won three games. Brylie St. Clair‘s nine hits are the most in a single tournament by a Bulldog.


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