With Mississippi State University Softball beginning their 2018 season this Friday, head coach Vann Stuedeman, along with senior infielder Morgan Bell and senior pitcher Holly Ward, met with the media on Tuesday.

The Bulldogs are coming off a 36-22 season with an NCAA tournament regional berth in 2017, after a down year in 2016.

MSU has nine freshmen and a transfer student this season, making it a young team, but Stuedeman is proud of her upperclassmen in helping the younger players succeed.

“These seniors and juniors have done a great job of getting those kids in our culture,” Stuedeman said.

Stuedeman said the team will depend on senior pitcher Holly Ward. The Bulldogs lost Alexis Silkwood, who pitched 153 innings last year. It is now up to Ward to step up and take on those innings.

“It is really on Holly (Ward) to decide how good we are going to be,” Stuedeman said.

Those are high expectations for Ward, but she believes she and the other pitchers can handle it.

“We are all just excited, and we’re ready,” Stuedeman said. “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. Just go out there and know you can, and dominate the best you can.”

The Bulldogs open their season against Mississippi Valley State at 3 p.m. and the University of Nebraska Omaha at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Starkville. SECNetwork+ and WatchESPN will stream the games. Admission is free. 

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