Cooley Goes Yard Twice As Softball Run-Rules Memphis
"It was a lot of fun out here tonight," Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. "Cooley was able to finish it off early for us, which is good since we are preparing hard for finals and need to go to bed early."
Cooley finished the night 2-for-4 with four RBIs, two round-trippers and two runs scored. Fellow All-SEC candidate Brittany Bell was not far off in production, going 2-for-3 in the leadoff spot with a three-run dinger of her own and two runs. Last week's SEC Player of the Week Ka'ili Smith went 1-for-3 with a pair of two-out RBIs.
Reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week Stephanie Becker earned the start for the Bulldogs, throwing one scoreless inning. Fellow junior southpaw Kylie Vry replaced her in the second and went the distance, giving up one unearned run in 5.0 innings of work to improve to 9-6 on the 2012 campaign..
Holding a narrow 2-1 lead, State went to work offensively in the bottom of the fifth frame. Senior right fielder Brittany Gates was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, before stealing second during sophomore center fielder Jessica Offutt's at-bat. Offutt then joined her on the basepaths with a full-count walk. With two on and nobody outs, Bell used her power to hide a 2-2 pitch in the trees beyond left field for a monstrous three-run homer. For the first time in the Vann Stuedeman era, MSU hit back-to-back jacks, as Cooley stepped up next and deposited a 3-2 offering over the wall in left for a solo four-bagger.
Up by five runs in the bottom of the sixth, the Bulldogs kept barking with a leadoff walk by sophomore shortstop Erin Nesbit. In the next at-bat, pinch hitter Ashley Phillips was hit by a pitch to put a pair of Starkville's own on base. Cooley, fresh off her parking-lot bomb in the fifth, ended the game by detonating a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left for a three-run home run.
Starkville's Team now travels to Hattiesburg Wednesday for a 6 p.m. matchup at in-state foe Southern Miss at the Southern Miss Softball Complex. For more information on the Bulldogs, follow the softball program on Twitter at @MStateSB as well as Facebook at Facebook.com/MStateSB.
- The Bulldogs have won 10-consecutive games against non-conference opponents, their longest stretch since the 2008 squad won 12 in a row. Starkville's Team has won 10 of its past 11 games overall.
- Mississippi State earned its eighth run-rule victory of 2012 Tuesday, giving State its most game-shortened wins since the 2008 squad won 13 via the run rule.
- Jessica Cooley's 15th home run of the season is one behind the SEC lead and currently ranks third in school history for a single season.
- Cooley is now just three home runs shy of Iyhia McMichael's single-season school record of 18 in 2004, and is currently on pace to break the school record for home runs per game (0.31).
- The junior from Birmingham, Ala., joins former MSU four-time All-American Kellie Wilkerson as the only two Bulldog softball players to ever hit two home runs in a game on three separate occasions.
- Brittany Bell was hit by a pitch for a school-record and SEC-leading 19th time this year, which ranks inside the top 10 for a SEC player all-time in a single season.
- Bell's school record 49 career hit by pitches is third in SEC history and first all-time at Mississippi State.