STARKVILLE, Miss. - Only the word "Classic" could describe the 1-0 defeat suffered by the Mississippi State softball team at the hands of the No. 12 LSU Tigers Friday night at the MSU Softball Stadium. Breaking the school record for longest game in school history (14 innings, 3:23), the Bulldogs dropped to 15-5 in 2013 after the loss to the Tigers (18-4). The game marked the Southeastern Conference opener for both Western Division squads.
"We have to tip our caps to LSU," Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. "They went to the Women's College World Series last season on games just like that, and they did it again tonight. I credit our players for throwing up punches inning after inning."
The beautiful Mississippi sun set behind the Dawg Diamond and a pitchers' duel for the ages broke out in the circle, as LSU All-American Rachele Fico improved to 11-3 on the year with 14 innings of shutout softball. The righty threw 206 pitches, gave up four hits and struck out 22 Bulldogs with three walks.
Her counterpart, reining two-time SEC Pitcher of the Week and College Sports Madness' National of the Week Alison Owen, was the hard-luck loser, falling to 9-2 after giving up a solo home run in the 14th frame. Hardly a losing pitcher with her effort Friday, the Bulldog righty sprinkled seven hits on 186 pitches over 14 innings. Owen struck out 10 and did not issue a walk, improving her NCAA-best strikeout-to-walk ratio to 103-to-2.
"Alison Owen was incredible tonight," Stuedeman said. "The defense was stellar as well. It was just that one ball that left the park."
Super heavyweight fights use to go 15 rounds, and this battle went 14, as a total of 11 hits were punched out on 392 combined pitches, with not a single batter tallying multiple hits. The lone hit that counted came in the top of the 14th, when Tigers' leadoff hitter A.J. Andrews drilled an 0-1 offering by Owen just over the wall in straightaway center for her first home run of the season.
For live in-game updates of MSU's attempt to cage the Tigers in game two, follow the program on Twitter at @MStateSB. For pictures, like the team on Facebook at Facebook.com/MStateSB and visit the team's Instagram account at MStateSB. For pregame and postgame video, check out MSU's official YouTube channel at YouTube.com/HailState.
Saturday, March 9th - LSU
- "Starkville Parks & Recreation Day at the Park"
- Post Game Autographs & Kids Run the Bases
- Barnes & Noble Softball Store on Site
- In-Game Twitter Trivia Giveaways
Sunday, March 10th - LSU
- GIVEAWAY: 100 MSU Softball Girl Scout Patches for Girl Scouts in Attendance
- "Title IX Girl Scout Celebration Day"
- Sunday Bingo with Giftcard Giveaways