Bulldogs Down Southeastern Louisiana, 2-1
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State scored in the first and second innings and made it stand up as the pitching staff limited Southeastern Louisiana to just three hits in a 2-1 victory on Tuesday at the MSU Softball Stadium. Junior Julia Echols led the offense, accounting for both runs and finished two-for-two with a run batted in, run scored, sacrifice fly and sacrifice bunt.
Sophomore Jacey Punches (7-1) threw the first four innings for the Bulldogs and surrendered just two hits, fanned three and walked one. Senior Shana Sherrod entered for the next frame and retired the Lions in order. Freshman Alexis Silkwood tossed the sixth and seventh innings and allowed one run on one hit en route to earning her second save of the campaign. She fanned four. Southeastern Louisiana’s Spencer Adkinson (1-1) took the loss after throwing three innings and allowing two runs, one earned, five hits and three walks. She struck out two. Taylor Bishop tossed the remaining three frames and limited the Bulldogs to one hit as she fanned four.
Southeastern Louisiana (9-12) had a chance to score in the top of the first, but could not convert. Katie Lacour led off with a bunt single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, but was left there by consecutive strikeouts.
The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Echols tallied a one-out single and stole second base. Freshman Caroline Seitz singled to right to plate Echols for the one-run advantage. Senior Logan Foulks followed with a single to left center, but a strikeout and lineout ended the inning.
Mississippi State added another run in the bottom of the second for a 2-0 advantage. Senior Jessica Offutt led off with a four-pitch walk. After a lineout, sophomore Loryn Nichols reached on a fielding error to put runners on first and second. Offutt and Nichols executed a double steal and senior Sam Lenahan walked to load the bases. A sacrifice fly from Echols plated Offutt before a strikeout closed the frame.
In the bottom of the third, MSU put its first two runners on base but could not convert. Junior pinch hitter Erika Gaul led off with a walk and senior Heidi Shape was hit by a pitch, but a lineout, batter interference and groundout halted the threat.
MSU left two more on in the bottom of the fourth as Lenahan led off with a double to left and Echols followed with a single to left and moved to second on the throw to third. Bishop entered and struck out the next two before a fly out to the warning track by Gaul stranded the pair.
After Sherrod sent down the Lions in order in the fifth, Silkwood entered and retired all three batters in the sixth.
In the top of the seventh, Megan Moore broke up the shutout bid with a leadoff home run. The long ball snapped a string of 10-straight Lion batters retired. Silkwood bounced back with consecutive strikeouts and a groundout to seal the victory.
- Mississippi State has scored first in the last four games.
- MSU earned its 22nd non-league win of the season, the second most by the Bulldogs in the last five seasons. The 2013 squad owns the most non-conference wins in the span with 25.
- The Bulldogs stole five bases, their most in a game since swiping six against Northern Kentucky in the third game of the season.
- Senior Logan Foulks is hitting a squad-high .500 (six-for-12) in the last five games with three runs scored, a .917 slugging percentage and .625 on-base percentage.
- Senior Sam Lenahan has hit .462 (six-for-13) in the last five games with a .611 on-base percentage, .769 slugging percentage and a team-high four runs batted in.
- Lenahan hit her 34th career double in the bottom of the fourth. The total is tied for the ninth most in program history.
- Freshman Alexis Silkwood struck out four to increase her season total to 80, the fourth most by a freshman in program history.
- Sophomore Kayla Winkfield’s is batting .500 (three-for-six) in her last two contests.
- Junior Erika Gaul drew her first walk of the season with a third-inning free pass.
- Senior Heidi Shape was hit by a pitch for the 12th time this season, tied for the fourth most in a year in program history.
- Shape has been hit by pitches 27 times in her career, the fourth most in Mississippi State history.
- In each of the last two midweek games, senior Shana Sherrod has thrown a perfect inning in relief.