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Defense Dooms Dawgs In NCAA Opener Vs. Florida State

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Photo Courtesy of hailstate.com

MOBILE, Ala. – Mississippi State (32-23) committed four errors and Florida State’s Lacey Waldrop struck out 10 in a complete-game effort, as the Bulldogs fell to the Seminoles (42-16) by a 5-2 margin Friday afternoon in game one of the NCAA Mobile Regional. The Maroon and White return to action Saturday at 3:30 p.m. CT, when they play the loser of host South Alabama vs. Mississippi Valley State, which takes place Friday night.

“We have to play better defense in the postseason,” Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. “It is the first time I have seen this team tight in 12 days.”

Junior All-NFCA South Region pitcher Alison Owen suffered the loss for MSU, falling to 16-13 overall. The junior surrendered five runs, but only two were earned, as MSU committed a quartet of errors for only the third time in 112 games under Stuedeman. Owen struck out six and walked none, increasing her NCAA-leading strikeout-to-walk ratio (236-to-21).

Waldrop, an All-ACC First Team member, improved to a team-best 23-8. The righty gave up two runs (both unearned) on four hits and a walk.

Florida State scored its first two runs of the game on a zany play in the bottom of the second. With a runner on second and two outs, Celeste Gomez struck out swinging on an 0-2 count and headed toward the dugout. The Bulldog defense trotted off the field after the appeared third out, the ball sat idle in the circle, but the Seminole base runners kept running. With all players off the playing surface except for Morgan Bullock and Gomez, both Noles trotted all the way home, ending an inexplicable turn of events which gave FSU two unearned runs.

The home team tacked on two more in the fourth, courtesy of a two-run home run to left field by Gomez. Florida State made it 5-0 one inning later with an RBI base knock to right by three-hole hitter Maddie O’Brien.

Fighting for Mississippi State, the Bulldogs plated two runs on two hits in the sixth with RBI singles by junior Logan Foulks and redshirt sophomore Briana Bell. The Maroon and White had the tying run at the plate to end the sixth stanza, and the tying run on deck to end the game.

Overall offensively for MSU, Bell went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Foulks, freshman Loryn Nichols and junior Jessica Offutt all went 1-for-3 at the dish for Stuedmean’s squad.

NCAA MOBILE REGIONAL HEADQUARTERS

ESPN3 will broadcast all remaining games of the Mobile Regional, with free live audio streaming being made available for free through HailStateTV at www.hailstate.com/hstvlive. For more information on the MSU softball program, follow the team on Twitter at @MStateSB and like the team on Facebook at Facebook.com/MStateSB.


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