MOBILE, Ala. (WCBI Sports/MSU Athletics) –
For two hours Saturday, the Mississippi State softball team (33-24) showed the fight which brought them to the big dance, coming from behind to eliminate Mississippi Valley State (25-32) from the 2013 NCAA Mobile Regional. Hours later, the music on the dance floor came to a screeching halt, as the Bulldogs were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament with a 3-0 defeat to host South Alabama (47-8).
“We have to get a taste of postseason play, be hungry and realize
what it takes to play in the postseason,” Head Coach Vann Stuedeman
said. “This team made a decision to fight. This team is resilient.”
Down to its last four outs and trailing 1-0 against the Delta
Devilettes in the first elimination game of the day, senior right
fielder Jessica Cooley launched a game-tying home run deep over the
center field wall. Following a walk by redshirt sophomore Briana Bell
and a bunt single by freshman Kayla Winkfield, senior first baseman
Shelby Fisher drove in Bell for the winning run with a single to left
All seven of MSU’s hits in the 2-1 victory came with two outs. On top
of Bell, Cooley, Winkfield and Fisher, juniors Jessica Offutt, Heidi
Shape and Sam Lenahan all went 1-for-3 in game one at the dish.
Junior right-hander Alison Owen tossed a complete-game two-hitter, with
her only run being unearned. The righty struck out a NCAA Tournament
school-record 13 batters, with her 11th strikeout of the game breaking
the single-season school record of 246 set by Autumn Anderson in 1998.
The Newnan, Ga., native’s 20 strikeouts this weekend also marked a
school record for a single NCAA Tournament as well as in a career.
Owen’s win in game one snapped a six-game losing streak in the NCAA
Tournament for the Maroon and White, while giving Stuedeman her first
career victory as head coach in postseason play.
Thirty minutes following the conclusion of game one, the magic ran out
for Mississippi State against the host Jaguars. South Alabama’s Farish
Beard went the distance in the circle for the victors, hurling her
third-career one-hit shutout, improving to 22-0. The righty struck out a
career-high tying 14 batters, with MSU junior Logan Foulks recording the
only hit for MSU.
In her last game as a Bulldog, senior lefty Stephanie Becker suffered
the loss in game two, falling to 10-9 in her final campaign. The
Illinois native surrendered three runs (two earned) on two hits and
three walks. Fellow senior southpaw Kylie Vry pitched lights out in her
final collegiate outing, throwing 3.2 scoreless innings in relief. In
all, five of the nine runs given up by MSU in the Mobile Regional were
The Bulldogs ended the 2013 season with an overall record of 33-24 and
their first NCAA Tournament win since 2008. Stuedeman’s squad defeated
four teams hosting NCAA Regionals this weekend, with three of the four
wins coming on the road. With Saturday’s win against MVSU, Stuedeman
improved to a perfect 14-0 against in-state teams since arriving in
“It is just part of the process of building a program,” Stuedeman
said. “Last year, we were close to winning one game in a big series,
and this year we won a game and were close to winning the big series.
Last year, we weren’t able to win in the postseason, and this year, we
were able to. It is part of growing and building the program.”
Fans can follow the program in the offseason by searching for
“MStateSB” through Twitter, Facebook, Tout and Instagram. For
more information on Starkville’s Team, including information on
MSU’s summer softball camps, visit HailState.com.