STARKVILLE, Miss. - On a beautiful day under the Mississippi sun, the Mississippi State softball team outscored two opponents by a combined 17-1 margin en route to a doubleheader sweep against Tennessee State and Georgia State on Saturday at the MSU Softball Stadium. The Bulldogs beat the Tigers, 8-0, in six innings, and followed it up with a 9-1 five-inning win against the Panthers.
GAME ONE RECAP
Mississippi State's offense exploded for six runs in the fifth and tacked on two more in the sixth for an 8-0 run-rule win vs. Tennessee State in game one. The Bulldogs improved to 2-1 on the young 2013 campaign, while the Tigers dropped to 0-2.
The Maroon and White pitching staff dominated for a third-straight day, throwing a one-hitter with 12 strikeouts. The dozen K's marked the 15th time in 21 seasons MSU struck out 12 or more batters, with four of those occasions coming in Head Coach Vann Stuedeman's first 60 games as head coach. The shutout was the 227th blanking by a Stuedeman-coached pitching staff since 2000.
After 17 strikeouts in MSU's first two games, senior lefty Kylie Vry kept it going by fanning nine Tigers in 4.0 innings inside the circle. True freshman Jacey Punches made her collegiate debut and picked up the win with three strikeouts of her own in the final two frames.
Junior Jessica Offutt continued her success from Friday by going 2-for-3 with two RBIs, two runs and a stolen base. Sophomore Ashley Phillips (1-for-3, run), junior Sam Lenahan (0-for-2) and junior Heidi Shape (1-for-3, run) also knocked in teammates.
GAME TWO RECAP
The Bulldogs picked up right where they left off in game one and defeated Georgia State by a 9-1 margin in five innings to improve to 3-1. State picked up its second-straight run-rule win in the fourth game of the season, after recording five such wins in 57 games in 2012.
Junior Alison Owen notched her first victory as a Bulldog with four-shutout frames of one-hit ball, striking out five and walking none. Senior Stephanie Becker closed the win with an inning of work, fanning three Panther batters.
Senior Jessica Cooley was a perfect 2-for-2 with a grand slam, while junior Logan Foulks also went yard with a two-run dinger. In addition, Phillips continued her hot hitting with two hits and a pair of RBIs.
Freshman Loryn Nichols kick-started the offense with a one-out double to center field in the third, and scored when GSU's third baseman airmailed a ball to first on a ground ball by Lenahan. With Lenahan on and State leading 1-0, Foulks crushed her first MSU home run for a 3-0 lead.
Following a run in the top of the fifth by the visitors, Cooley belted her third-career grand slam to put the game away for good. Two runs shy of a game-shortened victory, Phillips ripped a two-RBI double to the wall in right-center field for the victory.
Barring rain, the Bulldogs will return to the Dawg Diamond at 3:30 p.m. to wrap up the Bulldog Kickoff Classic with a Thursday rematch vs. South Alabama. For weather updates or more information on MSU Softball, follow the program on Twitter at @MStateSB and like them on Facebook.com/MStateSB. For the entire tournament schedule, click here.