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Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and JSU softball teams earn NCAA Tournament bids

Photo courtesy of MSU Athletics

The NCAA Division I Softball Committee announced the 2024 championship field on Sunday with three Mississippi teams included.

No. 17 nationally-ranked Mississippi State just missed being a host site, landing in the Stanford Regional in Palo Alto, Calif. The Bulldogs (33-18) will play as a two-seed against Cal State Fullerton (36-17) in the opening game while No. 8 Stanford (43-13) will take on Saint Mary’s College of California (30-22).

After being picked during the preseason to finish last in the SEC, Samantha Ricketts’ squad took the league by storm with its best conference record since 2007 while going the entire year without being swept. The Bulldogs, back in the NCAA Tournament after missing out in 2023, are led by a trio of All-SEC selections in Madisyn Kennedy, Aspen Wesley, and Sierra Saco.

“We were excited to hear our name and just get back to where we worked so hard to get to,” Ricketts said. “It’s kind of a full-circle moment for us, especially our upperclassmen and our seniors after the disappointment of last year. I’m just really proud of them and the efforts they took – and it started last May. It didn’t start in February this season. I think just the leadership and the intent and the way that we’ve gotten after it every day set us up for knowing that we were in this year, which was a much better feeling for us.”

Mississippi State’s in-state rival, Ole Miss, will be playing a little closer to home as part of the Lafayette Regional in Lafayette, La. The Rebels (31-25) will be a three-seed and start out against Baylor (31-25) while No. 13 Louisiana (42-17) will play Princeton (29-16) in the opening game.

The Rebels, gearing up to play in their eighth straight NCAA Tournament, earned two wins over Baylor in last year’s Salt Lake City Regional before being ousted by Utah. This year’s team is led by two-way All-SEC player Aynslie Furbush.

Securing its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011 with a big run in the SWAC Tournament, Jackson State (33-17) will be a four-seed and play No. 9 LSU (40-15) in the Baton Rouge Regional. California (36-17) and Southern Illinois (42-9) will play in the opening game.

Regionals will be held May 17-19 with each being a double-elimination tournament. The 16 winning teams will advance to the super regionals, held May 23-26. The NCAA Women’s College World Series will begin May 30 in Oklahoma City.

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