STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State freshman outfielder Ka'ili Smith had a productive homecoming, and she reaped the rewards on Monday as she was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week by the league office.
Returning to her home state for the first time in her collegiate career, Smith hit a team second-best .500 to earn Pepsi Malihini Kipa Aloha All-Tournament honors along with junior Chelsea Bramlett. Smith, a Kapolei native, collected a hit in each of the Bulldogs' six games, including four doubles. She also drove in four runs and scored three times as MState went 3-3 in the University of Hawaii-hosted tournament and improved to 14-6 overall.
"Ka'ili had an outstanding weekend for us, and being named SEC Freshman of the Week is a great testament to how well she played back in her home state," Bulldog head coach Jay Miller said. "She was very excited to be playing in front of her family and friends, and it was great to see her have one of the best weekend's of her career. Ka'ili has improved each week, and we hope that she continues to improve as we head into the conference portion of our schedule."
Smith opened the tournament with a perfect 2-for-2 outing, both doubles, against Florida Gulf Coast. She added another double in Thursday's nightcap with Santa Clara.
Her biggest outing came in the Bulldogs' 14-11 win over Hawaii. Smith went 2-for-4 at the plate, and her sixth-inning, RBI single proved to be the game-winner as MState avenged a pair of losses to the Rainbow Wahine in last year's NCAA Tempe (Ariz.) Regional.
Smith collected an RBI double in the Bulldogs' win over Mount Saint Mary's on Saturday, and she capped her week by driving in the team's lone run against Radford.
Smith's .315 average is fourth-highest on the squad this season. She leads the Bulldogs with three triples and she is tied for the top mark in doubles with six. She has driven in 11 runs and scored 10 times so far in her rookie season.
Smith and her Bulldog teammates open the 2009 SEC slate this weekend, traveling to Tuscaloosa for a three-game set with top-ranked Alabama. The two teams open the series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday's final game is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. first pitch.