STARKVILLE, Miss. – Senior Sam Lenahan’s second home run in as many games and a one-hit pitching gem from classmate Alison Owen carried Mississippi State to a 2-0 victory against Iowa on Friday afternoon, extending the team’s winning streak to 12 games to begin the 2014 campaign.
The victory gives the Bulldogs the second-best start in program history at 12-0, trailing only the 2006 squad’s 16-0 start. The team’s 12-game winning streak is also tied for the third longest by a MSU club.
Owen (6-0) limited Iowa to just one hit, a double in the top of the fourth inning. She fanned 11 batters and walked one. With the victory, Owen improves to 19-4 in her MSU career against non-conference competition. Her 11 strikeouts also moved her into sole possession of fourth place on the Mississippi State career chart with 304 in just over a year of action with the Bulldogs. Kayla Massey (1-5) went the distance for the Hawkeyes, taking the tough-luck loss after surrendering just five hits and two runs with two free passes and one whiff.
After Owen retired the Hawkeyes (3-6) in order in the top of the first, the Bulldogs had a chance to score in bottom of the frame but could not convert. Senior Jessica Offutt led off with an infield single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Senior Logan Foulks reached on an error by the Iowa second baseman, but a groundout and foul out ended the threat.
MSU had another chance in the bottom of the second and was again held off the board. Freshman Mackenzie Toler reached on a miscue to open the frame and was replaced by pinch runner Madison Arroyo. With one out, Arroyo stole second and moved to third on a groundout. After a walk to sophomore Loryn Nichols, Offutt grounded out to close the frame.
It was the third inning when Mississippi State broke through, taking the 2-0 lead. After a leadoff pop out, Foulks singled to right center and Lenahan deposited the ball over the wall in center field for her second home run of the week. A pair of groundouts allowed Massey to avoid further damage.
Iowa registered its lone hit to open the fourth inning with a Megan Blank double to left center, but Owen bounced back with a groundout, strikeout and fly out to strand Blank.
Neither team had another threat until the bottom of the sixth, when freshman Caroline Seitz hit a one-out triple to right center. Toler followed with a walk to put runners on the corners with one down, but a pop out and fielder’s choice ended the frame.
Owen retired the Hawkeyes in order in the top of the seventh to complete the victory.
The teams continue the three-game series Saturday with a 3 p.m. CT first pitch.
- The Bulldog pitching staff has allowed just 29 hits in 12 games, good for an average of 2.4 hits a contest. Last season, Mississippi State allowed opponents to average 5.1 hits a game.
- Mississippi State’s six runs allowed are the fewest through the first 12 games of a season in program history.
- The Bulldogs’ six shutouts through 12 games are tied for the most in a year in program history. MSU threw 10 shutouts in 2013.
- The contest was the fifth this year when the MSU pitching staff yielded one hit. Last year, the Bulldogs twirled nine contests with one or fewer hits.
- Senior Sam Lenahan drove in two runs and has plated at least one run in five of the last six games.
- Lenahan has driven in six runs already this week.
- Lenahan’s two runs batted in lifted her career total to 119. She is now tied for seventh with Briana Bell (2008-13) on the MSU career RBI chart. Courtney Bures (2005-08) owns the school’s career runs batted in record with 193.
- In the last six games, Lenahan owns a .368 batting average (seven-for-19) with nine RBI.
- Senior Logan Foulks went two-for-three and is batting .600 (three-for-five) this week after hitting .133 (two-for-15) at last weekend’s FAU Strike Out Cancer Tournament.
- Senior Alison Owen has struck out five or more batters in every appearance this season.
- Owen registered her 10th game as a Bulldog with 10 or more strikeouts with the 11 whiffs.
- Freshman Madison Arroyo stole her first career base in the second inning after entering to pinch run for Mackenzie Toler.