STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State softball team, two weeks into their spring workouts, will take part in a pair of scrimmages this weekend as part of its preparations for its season opener with 17th-ranked Southwest Texas State next Friday in Phoenix.

Head coach Kathy Arendsen will stage the first of a pair of weekend scrimmages Saturday at 12 p.m., taking her team through six innings of game work, including live pitching. The Bulldogs will hold another scrimmage on Sunday at 12 p.m as well. Both scrimmages will take place at the Mississippi State Softball Field and are open to the gerneral public.

"We are really pleased with the way practice is going so far," Arendsen said. "The players have worked hard and are eager to get the season started."

The Bulldogs, who were tabbed to finish fourth in the SEC West in the preseason SEC Coaches' Poll released Tuesday by the league office, will open their season on February 8 at the Fiesta Bowl Tournament hosted by Arizona State. State is slated to play a pair of top 20 teams in No. 17 Southwest Texas State and preseason No. 1 Arizona, as well as Texas Tech and New Mexico State in Phoenix.

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