From Home With Love

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From left: junior Erika Gaul, freshman Katie Anne Bailey and senior Alison Owen visited the Georgia Aquarium on Wednesday afternoon.
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Life is just better when it’s shared with the people you care about.

Just ask Mississippi State’s softball team as six members of the Bulldogs’ squad headed to their home state of Georgia for the week of spring break.

“It was fun to let everybody on this team experience Atlanta,” freshman Mackenzie Toler, from Fayetteville, Ga., said of the trip. “It’s fun to see how excited my teammates are to go to the World of Coca-Cola and get to go through my experiences growing up. It’s their first time doing something I’ve done for a long time and it was awesome to see their reactions.”

Mississippi State began the week-long trek Monday evening with a drive to Atlanta. On Tuesday, the Bulldogs played at Kennesaw State before playing at Georgia State on Wednesday afternoon. Thursday, the team spent the afternoon in Atlanta before heading to Athens to prepare for this weekend’s three-game series at the University of Georgia.

“The support shown by our family, friends and fans just shows how much love and support we all have,” senior Douglasville, Ga., native Logan Foulks said. “They’re keeping up with us and they care so much about us as a team. Being a senior now, everybody is making it a priority to come see us play one more time in Georgia.”

“It’s nice to come back and play against some familiar faces,” junior Julia Echols, a product of McDonough, Ga., added.

Not only did Mississippi State have numerous maroon and white fans in the stands, but after Wednesday’s game at Georgia State, the entire team traveled to student manager J Bailey’s house for a home-cooked meal. The taco bar and chocolate fountain were big hits.

For senior Sam Lenahan, a Lawrenceville, Ga., native, Wednesday's contest against Georgia State was extra special as the Panthers' starting pitcher, Kaitlyn Medlam, is one of her best friends. 

"I've been fortunate enough to have my parents come to almost every game," Lenahan said. "But this week is great because it gives my friends and family who haven't seen me play get to watch. Especially as a senior, this is a special feeling to be here all week." 

Thursday, the team visited the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta after eating lunch at the original Varsity location in downtown Atlanta. For more on the day in Atlanta, check out the photo gallery here.

Now the focus shifts to this weekend’s SEC series against Georgia, where big crowds are expected to fill the stadium again.

“It’s an awesome experience to play in front of fans, family and friends who aren’t able to make it to our other games,” senior Alison Owen, from Newnan, Ga., said. “The energy is going to be very high. I’m really excited to see old friends and family and for them to see us play.”

"It's special becuase you're back in front of your home crowd," senior Heidi Shape, a Duluth, Ga., native said. "It's such a convenience for my friends to come watch us that it's almost like you're back in high school." 

The Georgia series opens Friday with a 5 p.m. CT first pitch while Saturday’s contest begins and 1 p.m. and Sunday’s at noon. Sunday’s game will be televised live on Fox Sports Networks. Bob Rathbun will handle the play-by-play while Cheri Kempf will be the color commentator.


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