Bell's Clutch Barrel Propels MSU To 4-1 Win Vs. Syracuse
Orlando, Fla. - Mississippi State softball's Briana Bell broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh with a two-RBI double and Heidi Shape knocked in another on a sacrifice fly in the next at-bat, as the Bulldogs outlasted Syracuse, 4-1, Sunday afternoon at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. With a perfect 5-0 weekend at the 2013 D9 Citrus Classic, the Maroon and White improved to 14-4 on the season, the best mark through 18 games since the 2008 squad began 15-3 and recorded the second 40-win season in school history.
"I am tremendously proud of the resiliency this team showed this weekend and today," Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. "We refuse to go away from the first pitch to the last pitch and that showed all weekend."
Coming off the 14th no-hitter in school history Saturday, junior Alison Owen had another stellar outing Sunday against the Orange. The right-hander picked up her third complete-game victory, in as many starts on the weekend, tallying 10 strikeouts and one walk for her eighth triumph in the circle this year. On the weekend, the reigning SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week went 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA, holding opponents to a microscopic .097 batting average.
Picking up hits at the dish for State were Bell (1-for-4, 2 RBI), Shape (1-for-3, RBI), junior Logan Foulks (1-for-4, RBI), senior Shelby Fisher (1-for-3, run) and freshman Loryn Nichols (1-for-3, run). Underclassmen Kayla Winkfield and Ashley Phillips scored runs for the Maroon and White as well. Foulks ended the five-win weekend 9-for-17 (.529) with six RBIs, four runs and three home runs.
After Syracuse jumped out to a 1-0 lead, the Bulldogs' offense started barking in the top half of the sixth inning. Shape went shopping at the gap in left field with a one-out double, before being pinch ran for by Winkfield. Winkfield, the speedster out of Texas, scored on the next pitch as Foulks rifled an RBI single to center field, tying the game.
Deadlocked in a one-all tie in the final frame, the Bully Bombers went to work. Fisher slapped an infield chopper for a single with one out and advanced to third when Nichols slapped an infield single of her own and sprinted to second on a throwing error by the Orange third baseman. Phillips pinch hit for junior Jessica Offutt and loaded the bases with a walk on a 3-2 pitch.
With the bases juiced and one down, Bell slashed a two-RBI double down the left-field line, giving MSU a lead it would never relinquish. State tacked one more final run when Shape drove in Phillips on a sacrifice fly.
With the 5-0 Sunshine State sweep under its belt, Starkville's team returns home to the MSU Softball Stadium for a four-game homestand, beginning with a non-conference matchup against Memphis on Wednesday, March 6 at 5:30 p.m. State concludes the homestand with the SEC series opener against nationally-ranked LSU March 8-10.
For live in-game updates of MSU's homestand this upcoming week, 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.