JACKSON, Miss. – A bases-clearing double from freshman Caroline Seitz in the fifth inning turned a 2-2 contest into a 5-2 Mississippi State lead and the Bulldogs held on for a 6-4 victory at Jackson State on Tuesday evening. MSU trailed 2-0 going into the fifth, but broke out for six runs in the frame to earn the win.
With the victory, Mississippi State improves to 33-14, the best 47-game record in program history. The triumph is also the Bulldogs’ 28th non-conference victory of the year, the most in the regular season for Mississippi State since tallying 28 in 2008.
Sophomore Jacey Punches threw the first three innings and yielded two earned runs on two hits and two walks. Freshman Alexis Silkwood tossed the final four innings and earned the win to improve to 10-5. She held the Tigers to two unearned runs on four hits and eight strikeouts. Breea Jamerson (10-10) threw seven frames for the Tigers and gave up three runs on four hits, five walks, two hit batters and five strikeouts. Kelsey Townsend pitched to two batters in the fifth and did not record an out and was charged with two runs, one earned. Sybil Lozano walked one in the fifth and was also charged with a run.
Both teams had a runner in the first inning with a walk, but Mississippi State’s Jessica Offutt and Jackson State’s Lauren Aikens were stranded.
The Tigers (24-25) mounted the game’s first scoring threat and took a 2-0 lead with a two-out rally in the bottom of the third. After a foul out and fly out, Canessa Swanson walked and Victoria Nelson singled up the middle. Aikens followed with a single to right center that plated Swanson and moved Nelson to third. With runners on the corners, Aikens took off for second and was tagged out, but Nelson broke for home and scored before the tag was applied to Aikens.
In the top of the fourth, the Bulldogs put two runners on base but could not convert. Senior Heidi Shape was hit by a pitch to open the frame, but was erased at second base on a fielder’s choice by Seitz. A walk to senior Sam Lenahan moved Seitz to second with one out. Senior Logan Foulks hit into a fielder’s choice that forced Seitz out at third. With two outs, freshman Katie Anne Bailey hit a grounder toward the left side, but third baseman Amy Lara dove and made the throw to first for the inning-ending out.
Silkwood entered for the bottom of the fourth and struck out the side. In the top of the fifth, MSU exploded for six runs to take a 6-2 lead. Junior Julia Echols led off with an infield single and sophomore Kayla Winkfield was hit by a pitch. Townsend replaced Jamerson in the circle and sophomore Loryn Nichols reached on an error to load the bases with no outs. Freshman pinch hitter Mackenzie Toler walked on four pitches to force in Echols. Lozano entered to pitch and Offutt re-entered for Toler to run at first base. Senior Heidi Shape walked on four pitches to force in Winkfield and even the score. Jamerson returned to the circle and gave up a double to the wall in left center by Seitz that cleared the bases and put the Bulldogs ahead by three. After a fly out, Bailey singled to left center to plate Seitz and make it a 6-2 advantage. Consecutive groundouts ended the inning.
Silkwood allowed a leadoff single to Lara in the fifth, but avoided trouble with two groundouts and a pickoff of Lara at second.
In the bottom of the seventh, Jackson State scored twice and had the tying run and second base, but could not even the score. After a strikeout started the frame, Denisha Knight reached on a throwing error and Lara singled to right center, putting runners on the corners. Vicki Johnson dropped a single into right that plated Knight and moved Lara to second. A wild pitch allowed both runners to move up a base and a fielding error on a Lyndsey Colvin grounder filled the bases with one out. A fielder’s choice forced Lara out at home, but Nelson singled to left to drive in pinch runner Gaylan Johnson. A fly out to deep left ended the contest.
The Bulldogs get back into Southeastern Conference action this weekend with a three-game set at No. 4/5 Tennessee. First pitch Friday is set for 5 p.m. CT. Saturday will start at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
- Mississippi State threw out Lauren Aikens on an attempted steal of second base in the third inning. MSU has thrown out 16 runners this season as foes have been successful just nine of 25 times (36.0 percent success rate).
- MSU has thrown out 10 of the last 13 would-be base stealers and the last seven.
- The Bulldogs have won three-straight games and have trailed in all three contests.
- Mississippi State is 24-2 (.923 winning percentage) when scoring three or more runs this season.
- The Bulldogs have gone 17-0 versus in-state opponents since head coach Vann Stuedeman took over prior to the 2012 campaign.
- Two Bulldogs were hit by two pitches, increasing the team’s total to 58 HBP, the most in a year in program history. The previous high was 57 in 2012.
- Senior Logan Foulks is hitting .364 (16-for-44) with eight runs scored in the last 17 games.
- Freshman Caroline Seitz tied her career high with three runs batted in.
- Seitz has 18 doubles, the most in the Southeastern Conference this season and the most by a freshman in MSU history.
- The 18 doubles for Seitz are tied for the second most in a year in program history. Keri McCallum owns the mark with 22 doubles in 1999.
- Freshman Katie Anne Bailey recorded the first career pickoff of her career, nabbing Amy Lara at second base in the fifth inning.