STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State (34-25) will begin its trek for its first regional title when it takes on Pacific (34-22) at 6 p.m. (CT) in the Tucson Regional at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The game can be heard on MSU's radio station, WMSV 91.1 FM and can also be heard live on the station's website, www.wmsv.msstate.edu. Fans can also follow all the action live at www.mstateathletics.com.
MSU is participating in its sixth NCAA Regional, and fifth in the last six years. The Bulldogs are 7-10 all-time in NCAA Regional action. Their best finish came in 2001 and 2005 when they finished 2-2.
In their only previous meeting, Pacific defeated Mississippi State, 5-4, at the 2005 Palm Springs Classic.
Mississippi State closed the regular season tops in the league in triples with 14. They were also fourth in hitting (.294), on-base percentage (.361), hit by pitches (36), and stolen bases (116) and fifth in hits (473).
Freshman Chelsea Bramlett currently leads the conference in stolen bases with 46, which sets a new MSU single-season record, and is third in hits with 79. She is also fifth in runs (53), eighth in sacrifice bunts (9) and tenth in hitting (.385).
Courtney Bures is continuing her solid career at State. The junior is third in the conference with 56 runs batter in and 13 hit by pitches, a new MSU single-season record. She is also tied for fifth in doubles (13), ninth in on-base percentage (.459) and tenth in hits (63). However, in conference play, Bures has really shined. In SEC games, she is second in RBI (26) and third in runs (21) and total bases (52). She is also fifth in hitting (.381), on-base percentage (.480), hits (32) and doubles (6), seventh in slugging percentage (.619) and eighth in home runs (4).
Kelli Miller leads the Bulldogs from the mound with a 17-10 record and a 1.79 ERA. In 154.2 innings of work, the senior has struck out 79 batters. Kelsey Nurnberg is 7-5 with a 2.90 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 103.2 innings of work. Sara Hickerson currently leads the nation in saves with ten.
Pacific enters the NCAA Tournament as the three seed in the Tucson Regional, having earned an at-large bid. The Tigers return to regionals for the first time in 2004. As a team, Pacific is hitting .298 with 64 doubles and 29 home runs. The Tigers have also drawn 196 walks. Offensively, UP is led by Gina Carbonatto. The senior is hitting .393 with seven doubles, three home runs and three triples, while driving in 38 runs. She has also scored 54 runs. Jennifer Curtier is hitting .377 with eight home runs, 17 doubles, 51 walks and 43 RBI. She has also crossed the plate 38 times.
From the pitching circle, Pacific is primarily led by two pitchers. Chelsea Engle leads the team with a 19-15 record and a 2.69 ERA. She also has 22 complete games, while striking out 103 batters. Alyce Jorgensen has chipped in with an 8-5 record with a 3.19 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 112.0 innings. Opponents are hitting .261 against Tiger pitching.
The winner of Friday's game advances to the winner's bracket to face the winner of Arizona/Howard, Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (CT).