Story courtesy: Alcorn State Athletics
A four-year letterwinner at Mississippi State, the Alcorn State University softball program brought in Sarai Niu as part of the coaching staff to serve as a graduate assistant.
In four seasons at MSU, she helped the Bulldogs reach NCAA Regionals three times in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Individually, Niu played in 216 career games and made 195 starts at first base. She posted a .366 career on-base percentage with 82 RBIs, 26 doubles and 12 homers.
“I’ve been surrounded by people who have had successful collegiate careers. While at Mississippi State, I was able to learn incredible offensive and defensive skills from Samantha Ricketts (OU softball) and Tyler Bratton (MSU baseball), as well as my peers Nicole Pendley (OU softball) and Katiyana Mauga (AZ softball). From them, I learned what it takes to be an elite athlete with a championship mindset, and what it takes to come into a program as a girl and leave as a woman. This is what I have to offer and what I think will assist Coach [Josef] Rankin and Alcorn softball to getting to that next level,” Niu said.
Her biggest year came as a junior in 2018 when she hit for a .298 average and .480 slugging percentage with 39 RBIs, 11 doubles, a triple and six homers while aiding MSU to a 38-23 overall record. She followed it up with a .284 average and .355 slugging mark as a senior, as the team finished 35-23 overall.
Niu’s success began in high school when she guided Cathedral Catholic High School to a 29-3 record and to the California Interscholastic Federation Championship in 2014. She hit for a .495 average and .545 average with 52 RBIs that season and was named to the All-CIF Team, All-League First-Team and All-State Third-Team.
“I am very excited about adding Coach Sarai to our program. She’s coming from an awesome program with some awesome people. Mississippi State Softball has always been helpful. Always. Coach Vann, Coach Rickets, Coach T-Brat, Coach Johnson, Jessica Cooley, Kayla Winkfield – they have always been helpful and they actually respond! Heck their managers have been awesome to us! Just a quality program. Coach Sarai is going to do a great job with our infielders and help improve our defense. She is an awesome young lady who will elevate our program with her dedication and character,” said Alcorn head coach Josef Rankin.
A native of San Diego, California, Niu graduated from MSU with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in Spring 2020. She will be pursuing a Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in NCAA Compliance and Academic Progress Reporting at Alcorn.