Vann Stuedeman Interview

Mississippi State softball head coach Vann Stuedeman talks about the performance of her sophomore pitcher Alexis Silkwood and her team's upcoming series with Arkansas.

Sophomore pitcher Alexis Silkwood appears to be very durable but also seems to put so much effort into every pitch. What is her secret?
"I think that her mom instilled a lot of guts into her daughter. And I think it started from the beginning. I think it is just how she was raised, what was expected of her. She was raised to be a tough kid. And it is also what she expects from herself. She is a Bulldog. What you are seeing is what I saw when we recruited her."

And she is still just a sophomore.
"She is only a sophomore. And she is only 5-foot-4 and pitching in the best conference in the nation. And she just beat the No. 2 team in all of the land. She also had a no-hitter and a two-hitter. She has a 0.78 ERA in her last four games. She is 5-foot-4 and people are like, no she is not going to be a good pitcher.

"I think it all goes back to the way she was raised and the expectations that she of herself. She not only has that as a softball player but in the classroom, in the weightroom, in the community. She knows what the responsibility is to put on the Mississippi State jersey and be a softball player. She is really a dream to coach."

Where does her stamina come from? She has started four of your last five games.
"Last year she threw 158 innings. And I think Silkwood is at 145 innings right now and we have seventeen games left. You have to credit the weightroom. They do a lot of work with our strength coach. And also her mental toughness. I think it is a decision that you make that you are going to be tough and in shape. You eat right and get your rest. Those are sacrifices that she makes for her team. She is a warrior who gets out there and grinds it out for us."

You are having a unique weekend series against Arkansas, Saturday, Sunday and Monday instead of the normal Friday, Saturday and Sunday series. And it is on the road.
"Any road series in the SEC is tough. And it is Easter weekend. Playing on Easter, we have seven players who have never played a game on Easter. This will be their first game where they aren't enjoying Easter at home with their family. It is going to feel a little bit different for them. It is going to be a true road test.

"With the new SEC Network they wanted to have us on tv on Monday night. That is a little bit different than the normal routine. On top of that, you are playing an SEC series away. So, there are a couple of little curveballs to hit with their series."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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