STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/MSU Athletics) – Thanks to a three-run first inning and a critical three-run home run by junior Logan Foulks in the fifth, the Mississippi State softball team (32-20, 8-15 SEC) defeated No. 14 Texas A&M (38-14, 9-13 SEC) by a score of 6-2 Saturday afternoon at the Aggie Softball Complex.
The Aggies became the fourth Top-15 team from the SEC the Bulldogs have defeated in 2013, with three of the four victories coming on the road.
“It was a lot of fun to come out here, answer in the first inning and let everybody know there is a lot of fight left in these Bulldogs,” Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. “It was very important for us to come out, look aggressive and look ready to play, just for the momentum factor.”
With South Carolina wrapping up its regular season by splitting a doubleheader at home vs. Florida Saturday, and Auburn losing on a walk-off at Arkansas, MSU can clinch the 10th and final spot in the 2013 SEC Tournament Sunday with a win in the series finale. South Carolina will earn the spot with a MSU loss.
Right-hander Alison Owen tossed her team-leading 15th complete game of the season, improving to 16-10 on the year. Despite entering the game second in the country in slugging percentage, A&M mustered just two runs and five hits off Owen, who finished with six strikeouts and two walks on 109 pitches. Texas A&M’s Lauren Ainsley fell to 12-7 after yielding six runs on eight hits and one error.
State wasted no time scoring with a three-run first inning. With one out and the bases loaded, redshirt junior Erin Nesbit pulled a two-RBI single down the left-field line to put the Bulldogs on the board. Following a flyout to center for the second out, redshirt sophomore Briana Bell barreled a pitch to the gap in left for an RBI double.
Texas A&M jumped on the board in the bottom of the third with a solo homer to left by second baseman Jenna Stark. The Aggies pulled within one run at 3-2 as a result of a two-out RBI single by Taran Tyler in the bottom of the fourth.
The Aggies’ momentum came to a screeching halt with a critical error in the top of the fifth. State junior Sam Lenahan roped a worm burner up the middle for an infield single. Nesbit then hit a grounder to shortstop that appeared to end the inning, but the second baseman dropped the throw from shortstop for the would-be force out. With the inning still alive and the crowd deflated, Foulks deposited a first-pitch offering from Ainsley over the wall in left for a three-run Bully Bomb to give the game its final score of 6-2 in favor of Starkville’s Team.
In total, eight out of nine starters tallied hits for State. Foulks led the way offensively for the Dawgs with her three run homer, going 1-for-4. For the second-consecutive game, Nesbit drove in two and scored a run on a 1-for-3 day. Briana Bell registered an RBI as well, also finishing 1-for-3.
Stuedeman’s squad will look to punch its ticket to Lexington with a 12 p.m. CT first pitch in the series finale Sunday. Live HD video streaming of the game will be available to HailStateTV subscribers (via a shared production from Texas A&M). Of course, free live audio streaming will be provided through HSTV as usual, featuring MSU play-by-play caller Anthony Craven.