STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State completed its fall season with a 7-0 record by recording a pair of victories Sunday against Itawamba Community College, downing the Lady Indians 7-1 and 11-0 in five innings. Junior outfielder Ashley Phillips drove in three runs in game one to back senior Alison Owen’s perfect game through six innings. Game two had MSU explode for 10 runs in the bottom of the second as senior Shana Sherrod limited the Lady Indians to two hits.
Owen allowed just three hits in the first contest, all in the seventh inning. She fanned 17, including a stretch of 11 straight from the third through seventh innings. ICC starter Montana Hawkins went the first five innings and allowed five runs on nine hits and three walks. Kelsey Kesler got the final three outs and surrendered two runs on a hit and two hit batters. She also fanned two.
During the nightcap, Sherrod surrendered two hits and struck out three in five innings without issuing a walk. ICC’s Hannah Johnson went the distance for the Lady Indians.
In game one, the Bulldogs got off to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Senior left fielder Jessica Offutt started the frame with a single, stole second base, moved to third on a fly out and came home on a single up the middle from freshman Mackenzie Toler. Freshman Caroline Seitz followed the Toler single with fielder’s choice that plated senior Sam Lenahan, who had walked.
MSU added a run in the bottom of the second for a 3-0 advantage using the speed of sophomore Kayla Winkfield. With one out, Winkfield singled, stole second base, went to third on an Offutt bunt single and scored on a sacrifice fly from Phillips.
During the bottom of the fourth, the Bulldogs tacked on another run for a 4-0 edge with a two-out rally. After a pop out and groundout started the frame, junior Katie Gentle tripled to right and scored on a Phillips double to right center.
A big blow from Toler made it a 5-0 advantage in the bottom of the fifth as she hit a one-out home run to right center.
Mississippi State scored its final two runs in the bottom of the sixth to go ahead 7-0. Winkfield and Gentle were hit by pitches to open the frame before Phillips doubled to right to drive in Winkfield for a six-run advantage. A sacrifice fly from junior pinch hitter Erika Gaul then drove in Gentle.
ICC broke up Owen’s perfect game in the top of the seventh with a one-out bunt single from Haley Moore. Kory Watterson followed with a single off the wall in left that plated Moore for the Lady Indians’ run. Watterson was caught stealing before Autumn Bonner singled, but a Cara Hopper fly out to left ended the contest.
Game two had the Bulldogs explode for 10 runs in the bottom of the second. Senior Heidi Shape started the scoring coming home on a wild pitch. Freshman Katie Anne Bailey, Winkfield, Lenahan, Toler, Shape, Seitz and senior Rachael Zdeb all drove in runs during the high-scoring frame. The inning was highlighted by a Seitz double off the top of the wall in left and a Zdeb triple to right field.
Mississippi State tacked on its final run in the bottom of the third. With one out, Loryn Nichols drew a walk, stole second base and scored on a two-out single to center from Toler.
Sherrod sent down the final six batters she faced to preserve the run-rule victory.
MSU begins its 2014 regular season by hosting the Bulldog Kickoff Classic Feb. 7-9, welcoming Mississippi Valley State, Northern Kentucky and Jacksonville State to Starkville for the three-day event.
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