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Mississippi State Softball Series Preview: Tennessee

Vann Stuedeman and the Mississippi State softball team have hiked on up to Knoxville to take on the University of Tennessee.

Kelly Price/

After a pair of out of conference midweek games and hosting No. 3 Auburn last weekend to open up SEC play for the Bulldogs, No. 25 Mississippi State (20-9, 1-2 SEC) is now moments away from taking on No. 19 Tennessee (22-8, 3-3 SEC) in Knoxville.

The Bulldog pitching staff was charged with keeping some of the most powerful bats in the nation quiet last weekend and they'll be asked to do it again. Tennessee has a team batting average of .336 and has hit 94 total extra base hits, 30 of which were home runs. Tennessee's pitching staff has also been rather impressive, as they have a team ERA of 2.07 with 201 strikeouts and eight complete games.

MSU has been in a bit of a hitting slump lately but they are still hitting .276 on the season to earn 48 extra base hits. However, the MSU pitching staff has shown the capability of carrying the team as they are still one of the best in the nation with a 1.33 ERA, which is second in the SEC. Vann Stuedeman's pitching staff has struck out 182 batters and has pitched 11 complete games.

Tennessee is currently 10-0 at home with a series sweep over Arkansas to open SEC play. However, the Lady Vols have struggled against tougher opponents and are 0-7 against ranked teams so far, including being swept by top ranked Florida last weekend. Mississippi State has only played three true road games thus far and is 2-1 on the road, but the Bulldogs are sitting at a record of 8-5 in all games played outside of Nusz park.

Historically, MSU trails the overall series by a margin of 34-17. The Bulldogs are 10-15 in Knoxville. The last time these two teams played, the Bulldogs were swept during Super Bulldog Weekend last year by a total scoring margin of 25-14.

Unless you're planning on being in Knoxville, the only way to cheer on the Bulldogs is through the power of the internet. Game one of the series is tonight at 5:00 and can be seen here. Game two of the series is tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 and can be watched here. Game three of the series is on Easter Sunday at 1:00 and is online here.