STARKVILLE, Miss. – The power of three home runs helped No. 3/2 Alabama to a 5-1 victory at Mississippi State on Friday night at the MSU Softball Stadium. Jadyn Spencer, Peyton Grantham and Danae Hays each homered for the Crimson Tide and the trio combined to go five-for-eight with four runs scored and five batted in.
Mississippi State was led on offense by junior Julia Echols, who singled, walked and drove in a run. The Bulldogs trailed 5-0 going to the bottom of the sixth and loaded the bases, scoring once, but could not force the tie.
Freshman Alexis Silkwood (8-5) took the loss for MSU, throwing all seven innings and allowing five runs on eight hits and five walks. She struck out two. Alabama’s Jaclyn Traina (16-2) went the first six innings and yielded an unearned run on five hits and three walks while fanning four and hitting one. Sydney Littlejohn entered for the final three outs of the game and struck out one.
Alabama (37-5, 15-1 SEC) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Spencer and Leona Lafaele started the inning with consecutive singles to left field. A sacrifice bunt from Molly Fichtner moved the runners to second and third with one out. A sacrifice fly from Grantham plated Spencer, but Lafaele got caught in a rundown between second and third on the play and was tagged out to end the inning.
Silkwood pitched around potential damage in the third as the Crimson Tide left the bases loaded. Hays led off with an infield single and Kallie Case reached on a fielding error to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a pop out and strikeout, Kaila Hunt walked to fill the bases. Spencer popped out to sophomore shortstop Kayla Winkfield to end the threat.
MSU (30-14, 3-10 SEC) got its first base runner in the bottom of the third as Echols led off with a walk. A foul out on a bunt attempt, groundout and fly out left Echols stranded.
Alabama made it a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth with consecutive two-out solo home runs from Grantham and Hays.
The Bulldogs got their first hit in the bottom of the fourth on senior Heidi Shape’s single to right center that opened the frame. A groundout moved Shape to second and senior Logan Foulks reached on an infield single and Shape had to hold at second on the play. Traina bounced back with a fly out and strikeout looking to strand the pair.
The Crimson Tide extended the lead to 5-0 in the top of the fifth with its third two-out home run of the contest. Haylie McCleney started the frame with a walk, moved to second on a groundout, went to third on a foul out and scored on Spencer’s two-run home run. A groundout closed the frame.
Mississippi State put two more runners on base in the bottom of the fifth, but could not dent the scoreboard. With one out, Winkfield was hit by a pitch and sophomore Loryn Nichols drew a walk. Consecutive fielder’s choices ended the threat.
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth and cut the deficit to 5-1. Senior Sam Lenahan led off with a walk and was replaced at first base by redshirt freshman Olivia Golden. Foulks reached on a fielder’s choice that resulted in Golden being safe at second. A single to center from freshman Caroline Seitz loaded the bases with no outs. Freshman Katie Anne Bailey entered at second to run for Foulks while junior Ashley Phillips came in to run at first for Seitz. After a strikeout, Echols singled to center to drive in Golden. Traina induced a pop out and lineout to avoid further damage.
Alabama put two runners on base in the top of the seventh, but MSU’s second double play of the evening ended the threat. McCleney led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. A walk to Hunt put runners on first and second with one out for Spencer, who lined into an inning-ending double play.
In the bottom of the seventh, senior Jessica Offutt led off with a single that chased Traina. Littlejohn entered and retired the three batters she faced to seal the victory.
The teams resume the series Saturday with a 6 p.m. CT contest.
- The attendance of 1,009 is the fifth-largest crowd in the history of the MSU Softball Stadium.
- Mississippi State threw out Danielle Richard on an attempted steal of second base in the sixth inning. MSU has thrown out 14 runners this season as foes have been successful just nine of 23 times (39.1 percent success rate).
- MSU has thrown out eight of the last 11 would-be base stealers.
- The Bulldogs turned a single-game season-high two double plays. Mississippi State entered the contest with five double plays turned this season.
- Sophomore Kayla Winkfield is batting .333 (10-for-30) in the last 12 games with seven runs scored, seven stolen bases and five runs batted in.
- Senior Jessica Offutt is hitting .545 (six-for-11) in the last three games and .500 (seven-for-14) in the last four contests.
- In the last four games against Alabama, Offutt is batting .385 (five-for-13) and walked two times.
- Senior Sam Lenahan has hit .400 (16-for-40) in the last 14 games with a .538 on-base percentage, .700 slugging percentage and a team-high 14 runs batted in.
- Senior Logan Foulks is hitting .364 (12-for-33) with eight runs scored in the last 14 games.
- Sophomore Loryn Nichols drew her ninth walk of the season, matching her total from the 2013 campaign.