Softball Prevails In Fall Opener, 5-1

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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. - Senior Mississippi State outfielder Jessica Cooley picked up where she left off this past spring as Mississippi State defeated Shelton State, 5-1, Saturday afternoon at Southaven High School in Southaven, Miss. The game marked the first contest in MSU's "Tour de Miss" fall exhibition schedule, which continues Sunday at 3 p.m. against the National Pro Fastpitch All-Stars at South Panola High School in Batesville, Miss.

"First and foremost, I want to thank Shane Staten and the Lady Bulldogs at Southaven High School for the tremendous hospitality they displayed today," Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. "I also want to thank all the softball fans who showed up, watched some softball and enjoyed a great postgame camp."

Senior Stephanie Becker started the game for the Maroon and White, giving up two hits and an unearned run in the first three innings. After striking out two, the Aurora, Ill., native gave way to junior Shana Sherrod, who picked up the win with a scoreless fourth frame that saw the right-hander fan two Shelton State batters. Freshman Jacey Punches made her collegiate debut with a hitless fifth inning, while senior southpaw Kylie Vry closed out the victory with four strikeouts in two scoreless innings.

State's first run of the game came in the bottom of the third with MSU trailing by one. Cooley stepped to the dish with one out, took a deep breath and with one swing of the bat tied the game with a solo round-tripper. The homer was a continuation of her junior season this past spring, when the Birmingham, Ala., native touched them all 15 times.

Tied at one, fellow senior Shelby Fisher (2-for-2) started things off in the fourth with a single. Pinch-running freshman Loryn Nichols stole second and then tapped the dish when senior shortstop Erin Nesbit (2-for-2) knocked her in for a 2-1 lead in favor of the in-state squad.

The Bulldogs broke it open in the sixth thanks to two RBI doubles by the Mississippi natives on the team. Sophomore Swayze Hollenhead knocked in a pair with a one-out pinch-hit double, while fellow sophomore Ashley Phillips pushed junior Sam Lenahan across the dish thanks to an RBI double of her own.

"It was fun to finally get out on the diamond and play somebody other than ourselves," Stuedeman explained. "We shook off some of the cobwebs and we're ready for another great day tomorrow on the Tour de Miss."

For more information about the MSU softball program, follow the team on Twitter at @MStateSB and like the team at


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