Auburn Edges Mississippi State Softball, 4-1
"We fought hard today against a great Auburn Tigers' squad," Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. "Lauren Schmalz pitched great on her Senior Day. I cannot wait to get back out there tomorrow and play another great game."
Designated player Brittany Bell made it to first in all three at-bats, going a perfect 2-for-2 with a run scored and a hit by pitch. The redshirt senior has reached base safely in five of her six at-bats this series. Sophomore second baseman Heidi Shape knocked in the Bulldogs' lone run.
Junior left-hander Stephanie Becker started the game and pitched a perfect first inning, before being replaced by senior Lindsey Dunlap. The senior fell to 2-3 on the year after surrendering two runs on two hits in 2.0 innings of relief. Junior southpaw Kylie Vry replaced Dunlap and yielded two runs in the final three innings of the contest.
Both teams played scoreless softball until the top of the fourth, when the Bulldogs broke the ice. Bell reached first base to lead things off after being hit by a pitch for a school-record 20th time in 2012. Cooley executed a stiff bunt to Schmalz in the circle, who fired it to second to get Bell. The throw was not in time as Bell was safe and Cooley reached on a fielder's choice.
Following a flyout by MSU first baseman Ka'ili Smith to left, sophomore catcher Sam Lenahan rocked a hard-hit grounder to Tigers' shortstop Lauren Guzman. The shortstop unsuccessfully tried to tag Bell on Bell's way to third and was then unable to throw out Lenahan at first. With the bases loaded, Shape knocked in the game's first run on a groundout to second for her 29th RBI of the season.
Auburn responded in the bottom of the fourth with a leadoff triple by Guzman and back-to-back walks by Elizabeth Eisterhold and Caitlin Jordan to fill the bags. With Vry replacing Dunlap and the bases juiced, AU's Caitlin Schultze grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, as Guzman tapped the dish to tie the game. The home team took the lead one batter later when Amber Harrison dropped a blooper into shallow center for the go-ahead single. The Blue and Orange plated two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to secure the three-run margin of victory.
The seventh seed in the 2012 SEC Tournament will be decided in the series finale Sunday at 1 p.m. Free audio streaming will be available through HailStateTV at www.hailstate.com/hstvlive. For more information regarding MSU softball and their postseason push, follow the team on Twitter at @MStateSB and like the team at Facebook.com/MStateSB.
Longest Win Streaks in MSU History
1. 2006 16
2. 1986 15
3. 2012 12