ITTA BENA, Miss. – An offensive attack that scored runs in the first four innings and a near-perfect pitching performance led Mississippi State to a 13-0 five-inning victory at Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday afternoon. Senior Sam Lenahan, classmate Heidi Shape and freshman Caroline Seitz, the top three hitters in MSU’s order, combined to go five-for-nine with four runs scored and four driven in.
The victory lifts MSU to 29-10, tied for the best 39-game record in program history. The Bulldogs are now 16-0 versus in-state opponents since head coach Vann Stuedeman took over the program prior to the 2012 campaign.
Senior Alison Owen (14-7) earned the start and allowed just one base runner on a single as she struck out seven, increasing her season total to 168, good for the fourth most in a year in Mississippi State history. Senior Shana Sherrod threw the fifth inning and allowed two singles and fanned one. Tenna Patterson (5-11) suffered the loss, throwing two innings and yielding seven runs, six earned, on seven hits and two walks. Cassandra Rivera came in for the final three frames and allowed six runs on six hits, one walk and one hit by a pitch.
Mississippi State wasted little time scoring, jumping ahead 2-0 in the top of the first. Lenahan led off with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a one-out single from Seitz. Seitz stole second and senior Logan Foulks walked to load the bases. Freshman Alexis Silkwood singled up the middle to drive in two and move Foulks to third. Silkwood stole her first career base, but a lineout and fly out ended the frame.
The Bulldogs made it a 5-0 advantage in the second with the help of a Mississippi Valley State error. Sophomore Kayla Winkfield reached on a throwing error, stole second and third and scored on a Lenahan double to left field. Shape followed with a single that plated Lenahan. Shape moved to second on the throw home and moved to third as the ball skipped past the catcher. A single to right from Seitz drove in Shape for the five-run cushion. A fly out and pop out closed the inning.
MSU scored three more times in the third for an 8-0 lead. Junior Ashley Phillips opened the inning with a single and scored on a triple to right center from senior Rachael Zdeb. Winkfield followed with a bunt single that kept Zdeb on third. Winkfield stole second and on the throw down, Zdeb took off for home as the two executed the double steal for a seven-run lead. Winkfield motored to third on the throw to home and scored on a groundout by senior Jessica Offutt. After a fly out, Shape doubled to left but a foul out left her stranded.
In the top of the fourth, Mississippi State added five runs for a 13-0 cushion. A Foulks single, Phillips hit by pitch with one out and Zdeb single loaded the bases for Winkfield, who singled to center to drive in two for a 10-0 lead. A fielder’s choice reloaded the bases for Lenahan, who walked to make it an 11-0 advantage. After a pop out, redshirt freshman pinch hitter Olivia Golden dropped a double into left center that plated the frame’s final two runs. A fly out closed the inning.
Mississippi Valley State (7-26) registered its first base runner in the bottom of the fourth. After a strikeout, Natalia Covarrubias singled down the first-base line. A fielder’s choice and runner caught stealing ended the inning.
After retiring the Bulldogs in order in the top of the fifth, the Delta Devilettes recorded two singles in the bottom of the frame but did not score. With one out, Courtenay Brooks singled to third base. After a strikeout, Jahcenda Garrett singled to left. A groundout ended the contest due to the eight-run rule.
Mississippi State returns home this weekend for a three-game series against No. 16/18 Missouri. Friday’s first pitch it set for 6 p.m. CT while Saturday is at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
- MSU earned its 27th non-league win of the season, the most by the Bulldogs since tallying 28 in 2008.
- Mississippi State has stolen 27 bases in the last six contests. In the previous 10 games, the Bulldogs had swiped five bases.
- The Bulldogs stole eight bases in the game, tied for the second most in a contest in program history.
- Mississippi State is 20-2 (.909 winning percentage) when scoring three or more runs this season.
- The Bulldogs struck out eight batters in the contest, increasing the team’s total to 307 this season. That’s the third most in a year in program history.
- MSU has won seven-straight games. It is the team’s longest winning streak since the season-opening 15-game victory string.
- In the last three games, freshman Caroline Seitz is hitting .556 (five-for-nine) with three runs scored and two batted in.
- Senior Sam Lenahan has hit .423 (11-for-26) in the last 10 games with a .583 on-base percentage, .769 slugging percentage and a team-high 11 runs batted in.
- Lenahan has scored a run in five-straight games.
- Freshman Alexis Silkwood stole her first career base with a swipe of second in the first inning.
- Silkwood has started the last two games as the designated player and gone two-for-four with four runs batted in and one scored.
- Senior Rachael Zdeb drove in her first career run with her first career triple in the second inning.
- Sophomore Kayla Winkfield is batting a team-best .444 (eight-for-18) in her last seven contests with a squad-high six stolen bases.
- Winkfield tallied a career-high three stolen bases.
- Senior Alison Owen has struck out 28 batters in her last 16.0 innings pitched.