Seventh-Inning Dramatics Gives Softball 5-3 Win At Rival Ole Miss
Oxford, Miss. - Mississippi State (23-19, 6-14 SEC)
pitcher Kylie Vry retired 10-straight batters in relief before teammate Heidi
Shape recorded a game-winning, bases-clearing double for a 5-3 rivalry win
against Ole Miss (16-22, 3-12 SEC) Friday night at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
With the triumph, the Bulldogs improved to 32-20 all-time against the Rebels,
including a 13-10 mark in Oxford.
"I am really excited for all the Bulldog fans in the state tonight, especially the ones that came out here and supported us in person," Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. "We had half the stadium wrapped in maroon and white. To be baptized into this rivalry in this intense of an environment was awesome and is something I will always remember."
Shape drove in a career-high tying four runs, finishing 2-for-4 with the game-winning hit being her fifth double of the season. Senior catcher Ka'ili Smith also went 2-for-4, with her team-leading eighth double and a run scored. Junior left fielder Jessica Cooley helped out the State bats as well, tallying a single, RBI, run and a walk. All five MSU runs were of the two-out variety.
Vry replaced starting pitcher Stephanie Becker in the top of the third and stifled the Rebel offense, picking up the win after giving up two hits and a run over five strong innings. The junior lefty struck out five batters and has won her past two starts in conference play.
For the first time in 13 games, the Bulldogs jumped on the scoreboard before their opponent with a run in the opening stanza. Sophomore center fielder Jessica Offutt reached on a one-out groundball to second base, which was mishandled by the Rebels' Corrine Doornberg. Following a groundball by Smith that pushed Offutt to the second bag, sophomore third baseman Sam Lenahan was hit on the hip with a full count to put two Bulldogs on base. That brought up Cooley, who ripped an 0-2 offering past the shortstop for an RBI single into left, scoring Offutt and giving the Maroon and White a 1-0 advantage.
The home team responded by loading the bases in the bottom of the first. With the bases juiced, shortstop Allison Brown sliced a Texas Leaguer into right. Senior right fielder Brittany Gates dove for it on the line, but the ball dribbled off her glove into foul territory, allowing Ole Miss to tie the game. With the squares still full, designated player Erinn Jayjohn gave the Rebels a 2-1 lead with a bloop single to shallow left.
Ole Miss' lead did not last long, however, as, Smith led off the third with a standup double to the 220-feet sign in straightaway center field. Following two putouts by the Ole Miss pitcher, Shape roped a chopper up the middle over the head of the Rebel righty. Brown ran over from short, fielded it and hurled it to first, but it was not in time as Shape was credited with an infield base hit. In the midst of the play, Smith sprinted to third, rounded the hot corner and tapped the far side of the dish with a head-first slide for the game-tying run.
Vry entered the contest in the middle of the third and kept her team in the game by retiring 10-straight batters from the last out of the third until the end of the sixth.
It was in the top of the seventh after Vry did her job that the Bulldog offense got going. With State down to its possible final out of the game, Smith deposited a 3-2 pitch up the middle for a single. After a 3-1 base on balls by Lenahan, freshman Ashley Phillips pinch ran for Smith on second. Phillips and Lenahan advanced a base to load the bags with another 3-1 walk, this time to Cooley. The bases were loaded for Shape, who rifled a 0-1 donation to the wall in right-center field for a bases-clearing double. The two-bagger gave the visitors the three runs it would need for the final 5-3 triumph. Ole Miss's third run came with one out in the final frame.
Starkville's Team returns to the diamond Saturday for a 2 p.m. rematch against Ole Miss and conclude the rivalry series with a televised 1 p.m. contest on Sunday. Free audio streaming of both games will be available through HailStateTV at www.hailstate.com/hstvlive. Sunday's game will be broadcast live on FOX Sports South and will mark MSU's first game on television this season. Dave Baker will serve as the play-by-play announcer and National Pro Fastpitch League Commissioner Cheri Kempf will handle the color analyst duties. For more information regarding MSU softball, follow the team on Twitter at @MStateSB and like the team at Facebook.com/MStateSB.
● Brittany Bell improved her school record of hit by pitches to 47 with two plunks taken Friday. The SEC-leading 17 HBP's in 2012 is also a single-season school record.
● Brittany Gates has earned four walks in the past five MSU games after walking just six times in the first 37 games of the season.
● Ka'ili Smith cranked her team-leading eighth double of the season in the top of the third.
● The Bulldogs scored first for the first time since March 17 at LSU, a span of 13 games.
● MSU improved to 13-2 this season when scoring first, including a 12-5 record when putting a run on the scoreboard in the opening stanza.
● With another errorless game, Stuedeman's squad has committed just two miscues in the last eight games after tallying 13 errors in its eight games prior to that.
● Kylie Vry retired 10-straight batters from the bottom of the third until the end of the sixth inning.