BATON ROUGE, La. – In a back-and-fourth game in the final contest of the regular season, Mississippi State used a solo home run from freshman Caroline Seitz to break a 3-3 tie in the top of the seventh for a 4-3 victory at No. 25/23 LSU on Sunday at Tiger Park. Seitz finished the game three-for-three with two runs batted in and one scored.
LSU loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but freshman Alexis Silkwood struck out the final two batters of the contest to earn the victory.
The Bulldogs trailed 1-0 going to the top of the fourth inning when a wild pitch brought in junior pinch runner Ashley Phillips to tie the game before a sacrifice fly from freshman Mackenzie Toler delivered senior Logan Foulks for a 2-1 lead. MSU added another run in the fifth but LSU scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to even the game going into the seventh.
Mississippi State (38-18, 10-14 SEC) will head to the Southeastern Conference tournament with the second-best 56-game record in program history, just one game behind the 2008 squad’s 39-17 mark.
With the victory, MSU earned its eighth victory of the campaign against a top-25 club, tied for the second most in a year in program history. The 10 true road wins are tied for the fifth most by an MSU club and the 38 regular-season wins are the third most in Bulldog history.
Senior Alison Owen rebounded from a shaky Saturday start to throw five-and-a-third innings. She held LSU to three runs, two earned, on seven hits and two walks She fanned three. Silkwood (13-6) entered for the final inning-and-two-thirds and allowed two hits, one walk and struck out three. LSU’s Ashley Czechner (12-12) went the distance, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk. She fanned six and hit five.
LSU (34-21, 13-11 SEC) threatened to take a lead in the first inning but stranded two. With one out, Jacee Blades singled to first baseman Foulks, who threw wide to first, allowing Blades to get to second. A groundout moved Blades to third and Bianka Bell drew a two-out walk to put runners on the corners. Kellsi Kloss struck out to end the threat.
Mississippi State had one base runner in the first and second innings, but could not convert. Junior Julia Echols had a two-out single in the first and Seitz was hit by a pitch to open the second, but neither advanced past first base.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on an interesting play involving a runner passing another on the bases. With one out, Allison Falcon was hit by a pitch. Tammy Wray followed with a ball over the fence in left, but Wray passed Falcon on the bases. Wray was called out for passing Falcon but Falcon’s run counted. A fly out to center ended the inning.
MSU threatened again in the top of the third with two more runners, but could not convert. Sophomore Loryn Nichols led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. With one out, senior Heidi Shape reached on catcher’s interference to put runners on first and second. Consecutive strikeouts allowed Czechner to escape without damage.
The Bulldogs broke through in the top of the fourth with two runs to go ahead 2-1. Seitz started the frame with a double and Foulks was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs. Phillips entered to pinch run for Seitz and moved to third as Foulks went to second on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Katie Anne Bailey. A Czechner wild pitch plated Phillips to tie the game at 1-1. Foulks went to third on the wild pitch and then scored on a sacrifice fly from Toler. A strikeout ended the threat.
In the top of the fifth MSU added to its lead with a run to go ahead 3-1. With one out, Shape singled up the middle. After a foul out, senior Sam Lenahan was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Seitz delivered again with a single up the middle that plated Shape.
The Tigers had an opportunity to cut into the deficit in the bottom of the fifth, but were held off the board. With two outs, A.J. Andrews singled and Blades drew a walk. Owen retired Sahvanna Jaquish on a foul out to Foulks at first to end the inning.
It was the Bulldogs stranding runners in the top of the sixth as they loaded the bases but did not score. Bailey was hit by a pitch to open the frame and Nichols drew a one-out walk. After a pop out, Shape was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two down. Echols hit it to the warning track in dead center, but Simone Heyward made the catch to end the threat.
LSU converted on an opportunity in the bottom of the sixth with two runs to tie the contest at 3-3. Bell and Kloss started the frame with consecutive singles to left to put runners on first and second. After a groundout moved the runners up a base, Falcon singled through the left side to plate Bell and make it a 3-2 MSU advantage. Silkwood entered for Owen. With an 0-2 count on Wray, Falcon took off for second. Catcher Lenahan threw to second, but Shape touched the ball and it bounced into center, allowing Kloss to score. A Wray strikeout and groundout ended the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Seitz hit a one-out homer for the eventual win.
The Tigers did not go quietly in the seventh, loading the bases with one out. Andrews led off with a single. After a foul out on a bunt attempt, Jaquish singled to put runners on first and second. Bell was intentionally walked to load the bases with one down. Kloss and Sandra Simmons struck out swinging to end the contest.
Mississippi State returns to action Wednesday at the Southeastern Conference Tournament. The Bulldogs face Kentucky at 3 p.m. CT. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.
- Mississippi State claimed its 38th victory of the campaign, the third most in a regular season in program history.
- MSU earned its eighth victory of the campaign against a top-25 foe, tied with the 2002 squad for the second most in a year in program history.
- The triumph is Mississippi State’s 10th true road victory of the season, tied for the fifth most in a year in program history.
- With the victory, MSU has 10 Southeastern Conference wins, tied for its second most in the last five seasons.
- The triumph is the Bulldogs’ 13th of the campaign when trailing.
- Of Mississippi State’s last eight victories, six have been after falling behind at some point in the game.
- The Bulldogs were hit by pitches five times in the game, the third-most in a contest in program history.
- Junior Julia Echols went one-for-four during the game. In her last six contests, Echols is hitting .529 (nine-for-17) with a walk and a four hit by pitches.
- Freshman Caroline Seitz has 19 doubles, the most by a freshman in MSU history, and the second most in a year in program history. Keri McCallum owns the mark with 22 doubles in 1999.
- Freshman Mackenzie Toler drove in a run as a pinch hitter with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. In Toler’s last four appearances as a pinch hitter, she has plated six runs.
- Senior Heidi Shape was hit by a pitch in the top of the sixth to increase her career total to 33, tied with Keri McCallum (1997-2000/33) for second on the MSU career chart.
- Shape’s 18 hit by pitches this season are the second most in a year in program history.
- Senior Alison Owen’s single-season strikeout total is 207, good for the third most in a year in program history.
- There have been three seasons in program history with an MSU pitcher recording 200 or more strikeouts and Owen owns two of them (2014 and 250 in 2013). Autumn Anderson (1998/246) is the only other Bulldog hurler with more than 200 whiffs in a campaign.