MSU Comes Back For 9-1 Win

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Senior Heidi Shape hit her second career grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning.
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STARKVILLE, Miss. – A fourth-inning single from sophomore Kayla Winkfield, a grand slam from senior Heidi Shape and a two-run double from freshman Katie Anne Bailey were the main power sources as Mississippi State came back for a 9-1 victory in six innings against Samford on Wednesday evening.

MSU (25-10) trailed 1-0 entering the bottom of the fourth inning, but scored three times, helped by two Samford errors in the frame, and never looked back. In addition to Shape’s four RBI, senior Sam Lenahan also helped the offense with two hits, a run batted in and another scored.

Freshman Alexis Silkwood (7-2) recorded the win, limiting Samford to one hit, a single to center field in the third inning by Megan Dowdy. Silkwood struck out five and walked two in five innings of work. Senior Alison Owen entered for the sixth and retired all three batters she faced. Mollie Hanson (12-6) threw four innings and took the loss after allowing three runs, one earned, on six hits and one walk. Grey Adams threw one inning and yielded five runs on two hits and three walks. She also fanned two. Rebecca Leonard recorded two outs and gave up one run on one hit and a walk. She struck out two.

In the bottom of the first, Mississippi State threatened but did not score. Lenahan led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, but a groundout and pop out left her stranded.

Samford (24-9) kept the game scoreless in the second with a key double play on defense. Freshman Mackenzie Toler led off with a single and was replaced by junior pinch runner Ashley Phillips. Phillips stole second base and Shape was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a fly out, Winkfield lined into an inning-ending double play as Shape was caught too far off first base.

Coming off the defensive hold, Samford took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Caroline Seay led off reaching on an error and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. A single to center from Dowdy advanced Seay to third and Dowdy went to second on the throw to the plate. Abby Adams walked to fill the bases before Caitlin Bice grounded out, plating Seay. Silkwood avoided further damage with a pop out.

MSU had another leadoff batter on in the bottom of the third and could not convert. Sophomore Loryn Nichols led off reaching on a throwing error and stole second base. After two groundouts to third base, freshman Caroline Seitz walked to put runners on first and second. Hanson ended the threat with a groundout.

In the bottom of the fourth, Mississippi State broke through and took a 3-1 advantage. After a groundout opened the frame, Shape reached on a fielding error by second baseman Abbie Miranda and stole second. Senior Jessica Offutt singled to shortstop Adams, but Adams’ throw to first was wide and allowed Shape to score to tie the game at 1-1. Offutt stole second and scored on a single from Winkfield. Winkfield was caught stealing for the second out, but Nichols singled to extend the inning. Lenahan doubled to right center to drive in Nichols for the two-run lead. A groundout closed the frame.

MSU added to its lead in the bottom of the fifth with Shape’s slam to go ahead 7-1. Seitz led off with a walk and was replaced by redshirt freshman pinch runner Olivia Golden. Senior Logan Foulks singled to center and moved to second on the throw to third to try and get Golden. Toler walked to fill the bases and was replaced by freshman pinch runner Bailey. Shape then cleared the bases for the six-run advantage. A foul out and two strikeouts ended the inning.

Owen retired all three batters in the sixth before Mississippi State scored two more runs in the bottom of the sixth for the victory. Lenahan led off with a walk and, after a strikeout, Golden received a free pass. Following the inning’s second strikeout, Bailey doubled to the wall in left center to plate Lenahan and Golden and end the game due to the eight-run rule.

Mississippi State has the next two days off before returning to action Saturday with a noon doubleheader against Marshall.

Post-Game Notes
-         MSU earned its 23rd 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. 

-         Mississippi State stole five bases in the contest. It is the second-straight game with five swipes.

-         MSU has stolen 10 bases in the last two games. In the previous 10 games, the Bulldogs had swiped five bases.

-         Mississippi State is 17-2 (.895 winning percentage) this season when scoring three or more runs.

-         The comeback win is MSU’s seventh of the campaign, and third in the last eight days.

-         The Bulldogs held Samford to one hit. It is the eighth game of the campaign in which MSU has limited the opponent to one hit.

-         Senior Heidi Shape owns a team-high 13 hit by pitches this season. The total is tied for the third most in a year in program history. Briana Bell owns the single-season record with 22 HBP in 2012.

-         Shape is now up to 27 hit by pitches in her career. The total is good for the fourth most by a Mississippi State player.

-         Shape’s grand slam was the second of her career as she also hit one Feb. 11, 2011, at UNLV.

-         Shape and freshman Katie Anne Bailey are the only players on the active roster who have hit grand slams in their careers.

-         Senior Sam Lenahan has hit .500 (eight-for-16) in the last six games with a .636 on-base percentage, .813 slugging percentage and a team-high five runs batted in.

-         Lenahan hit her 35th career double in the top of the fifth, tied for the eighth most in program history.

-         Senior Logan Foulks is hitting .467 (seven-for-15) in the last six games with four runs scored, a .800 slugging percentage and .579 on-base percentage.

-         Sophomore Kayla Winkfield is batting .444 (four-for-nine) in her last three contests.


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