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Bulldog Slamboree Preview: Mississippi State Softball vs Lamar

Hail State Pics/Mississippi State Athletics

Mississippi State’s first game of the Bulldog Slamboree will be against the Cardinals of Lamar University out of Beaumont, Texas. Lamar’s season is going along at a pace that is probably not ideal.

After starting the year 3-6, Lamar got things turned around a bit and won 4 of their next 5. That 5th game was their most recent one, however. And the Cardinals dropped it 3-2 at home against a La Tech team that is 1 game above .500.

What’s their offense look like compared to MSU’s?

Lamar is averaging 4.5 runs per game and is letting their opponents score 5.1 runs per game. Which, as it turns out, is typically not that great of a strategy in terms of success. The Cardinals only have a total of 19 extra base hits, 10 doubles, 2 triples, and 7 home runs. Pair that with a .284 batting average and you don’t exactly have an offense that many would deem to be “explosive.”

Mississippi State, on the other hand, hasn’t exactly struggled to score. The Bulldogs are scoring 5.1 runs per game thanks in large part to 47 extra base hits. With 29 doubles, 6 triples, and 11 homers, Mississippi State has shown the ability to score in bursts. Their .318 batting average is considerably better as well.

Advantage: Mississippi State

How do the two pitching staffs stack up?

Lamar’s pitching staff has had its ups and downs so far this year. The Cardinals’ pitching staff currently has a 4.86 ERA and a grand total of 27 strikeouts. Lamar relies heavily on Laura Napoli to carry them through games as Napoli has by far the most time pitching this season with 41.2 innings.

Led by the senior duo of Holly Ward and Cassady Knudsen, Mississippi State has a pitching staff with a very high ceiling. Ward and Knudsen have ERAs of 0.32 and 0.23 respectively and they have combined to strike out 105 batters in a total of 74.1 innings of work.

Advantage: Mississippi State

What should fans expect?

Mississippi State is a considerably better team from top to bottom than the Cardinals. Lamar has shown that they can keep games close against good teams such as their close battle with Ole Miss in Orange Beach. However, the Cardinals have also shown that they can be run ruled by good teams as well, like when they lost big to Alabama and then twice to Washington.

Could Lamar show up motivated to getting back to winning? Absolutely. Is this still a team that Mississippi State should beat? Yes.