No. 16/18 Missouri Takes Opener 6-0
STARKVILLE, Miss. – In the first Southeastern Conference meeting between Mississippi State and Missouri, the Tigers scored in four innings and limited the Bulldogs to three base runners in a 6-0 victory on Friday evening. Taylor Gadbois went three-for-four and Mackenzie Sykes went two-for-three with two runs scored and another batted in to lead the balanced Tiger offensive attack.
Despite the loss, Mississippi State (29-11, 2-8 SEC) is still off to the second-best 40-game start in program history. Only the 2000 squad had a better record at 30-10. Senior Logan Foulks tallied Mississippi State’s only two hits in the contest.
Mississippi State freshman Alexis Silkwood (8-3) suffered the loss, throwing all seven innings and yielding 14 hits and six runs, all earned. She walked two and fanned three. Missouri’s Tori Finucane (11-5) held the Bulldogs to just two Foulks singles and struck out 12 while hitting one.
Missouri (26-9, 5-5 SEC) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Gadbois led off with an infield single and stole second base. Sami Fagan followed with a soft line drive back to Silkwood, who dove for the ball but couldn’t come up with the catch. Gadbois held at second on the play, but both runners moved up a base on a walk to Angela Randazzo that filled the bases. Kelsea Roth struck out looking, but a sacrifice fly from Sykes drove in Gadbois. A lineout to left ended the threat.
The Tigers added another run to go ahead 2-0 in the top of the second as Kirsten Mack tripled with one out and scored on an Ashtin Stephens groundout.
MSU had its first hit in the bottom of the second as Foulks led off with a single, but she was caught stealing second and a groundout and a foul out ended the threat.
In the top of the fourth, Missouri put the game out of reach with three runs to take a 5-0 advantage. Sykes led off with a triple and scored on a single to right field from Corrin Genovese. Natalie Fleming followed with a home run to center for the five-run cushion. After a groundout, Stephens singled to center and Gadbois beat out an infield single to put runners on first and second with one down. A fly out and fielder’s choice stranded the pair.
The Tigers scored another run in the top of the fifth to make it a 6-0 lead. With one out, Sykes doubled to left and Genovese singled to left and advanced to second on the throw to third. Fleming walked to load the bases with one out and Mack drove in Sykes with a sacrifice fly. Pinch hitter Casey Stangel struck out to close the frame.
Mississippi State had its only scoring chance in the bottom of the fifth inning. Foulks led off with her second hit of the night on a single through the left side and was replaced by junior pinch runner Ashley Phillips. Senior Heidi Shape was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a strikeout, a wild pitch moved Phillips to third and Shape to second, but a foul out and another whiff left the two on base.
The Bulldogs went down in order in the sixth and seventh as Finucane preserved the victory.
The two teams continue the series Saturday with a 3 p.m. CT contest.
- Mississippi State threw out Taylor Gadbois on an attempted steal of second base in the second inning. MSU has thrown out 11 runners this season as foes have been successful just eight of 19 times (42.1 percent success rate).
- MSU has thrown out six of the last eight would-be base stealers.
- The Bulldogs have been held to two or fewer hits just four times this season.
- The 14 hits for Missouri are the most surrendered by Mississippi State since yielding 15 to Southern Miss on April 7, 2011.
- Senior Heidi Shape was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning to give her 14, tied for the second most in a year in program history. Briana Bell owns the mark with 22 HBP in 2012.
- Shape also moves into sole possession of third on the MSU career hit by pitch chart with 29. Bell also owns the career mark with 55.
- Senior Logan Foulks tallied her third multiple-hit game in her last eight contests played.
- During the last eight games, Foulks is hitting .474 (nine-for-19).