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Mississippi State Takes Series From South Carolina With 7-1 Victory

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Mississippi State’s softball team defeated South Carolina, 7-1, on the road on Sunday afternoon.

The Bulldogs (27-22, 3-15 SEC) outscored the Gamecocks (25-22, 4-17 SEC), 13-3, in the final two games to rally back and claim the series.

“I think the biggest thing the offense did up and down the lineup was string together quality at-bats,” head coach Samantha Ricketts said. “They didn’t get too big and rely on the home run ball but took walks and marginal pitches in tough counts to make their pitching staff work a little bit harder. It was really great to see production from everybody. Montana [Davidson] had a great weekend in the nine-hole. Jackie McKenna as well. Chloe [Malau’ulu] was really setting the table all day long, and Fa [Leilua], when she finally gets pitched to, does what Fa does and is able to take one for a good knock-out punch for us.”

Fa Leilua capped a rally to get the offense going with a three-run home run in the top of the third. South Carolina answered with a run off a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning, but the Gamecocks would not score again.

Alyssa Loza came in to pitch in the fourth inning, and tossed 4.0 scoreless frames. She allowed just two hits while striking out a pair, and the Bulldog defense played a clean game behind her without committing an error.

The Bulldogs scored again with some small ball in the fourth as Paige Cook came around to score on a single after being hit by a pitch and bunted to second base. Mia Davidson hit a solo home run in the fifth, and State plated two more runs in the sixth when Montana Davidson drove an RBI double and scored on a bases-loaded walk.

Quotables

Samantha Ricketts on the team’s defensive showing this weekend:

“Defense was huge. I don’t think we had a ton of strikeouts all weekend long with our pitching, so we had to make a lot of plays. Madisyn Kennedy was just automatic. Every ball hit to her she stopped even if it was a hit. She was just getting out after out, and we had some really big plays in the outfield as well. We did a good job of pitching to where we knew we wanted to go, and Coach [Tyler] Bratton had them shifted in the right positions. We were able to make some plays and take away any rallies when they got started.”

Alyssa Loza on her mindset today:

“Going in, I knew the defense had my back. I trusted my pitches and trusted Mia [Davidson] back there. I trusted our pitch calling and our preparation all week. That really let me get into my zone and my mindset of going out there, throwing my best pitches, attacking the zone and just having fun.”

Montana Davidson on her weekend:

“I think it was more ‘Don’t try to do too much.’ Coming home to see people I’ve known all my life, I’m just trying not to get too big and get the pitch that I want. I think it was more about having a team at-bat, get the ball in play and put a good swing on it.”

 

Quick Hitters

Thunder and Lighting – Mia Davidson and Fa Leilua homered in the same game for the 17th time in their careers and eighth time this season … State is 14-3 all-time when the pair both homer in a game.

 

Paige Cook – Was hit by a pitch in all three games … Has now been hit eight times this season, which is tied for 12th in the SEC.

 

Mia Davidson – Hit her 67th career home run, tying Rafael Palmeiro for the MSU career record in both baseball and softball … Only Florida’s Lauren Haeger (71) and Georgia’s Alyssa DiCarlo (68) have hit more home runs in SEC softball history.

 

Montana Davidson – Went 2-for-3 on Sunday with two runs scored, a walk and an RBI … Batted .400 in the series with a double and two home runs … Drove in six runs in the series, doubling the next-highest Bulldog in the lineup … Posted a 1.100 slugging percentage and .455 on-base percentage.

 

Fa Leilua – Hit her 17th home run of the season … Three-run shot gave her her team-leading 11th multi-RBI game of the year … Finished the day 2-for-3 with a walk … One of two Bulldogs with a hit in every game of the series.

 

Jackie McKenna – One of two Bulldogs with a hit in every game of the series.

 

Alyssa Loza – Tossed 4.0 shutout innings to earn the win in relief … Allowed just two hits and struck out two.

Scoring Recap

Top 3

With one out, Jackie McKenna singled into left field. She was followed by a base hit from Montana Davidson. Chloe Malau’ulu reached on a fielder’s choice when the Gamecocks opted to put out McKenna headed to third. Fa Leilua hit a three-run homer to center field.

Mississippi State 3, South Carolina 0

 

Bottom 3

With one out, Mackenzie Boesel and Cayla Drotar hit back-to-back singles, which advanced Boesel to third. Drotar moved up to second on the throw. Kassidy Krupit hit a sacrifice fly to right-center field to score Boesel.

Mississippi State 3, South Carolina 1

Top 4

Paige Cook was hit by a pitch to open the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Madisyn Kennedy. McKenna grounded out, allowing Cook to take third. Malau’ulu singled into center field to score Cook.

Mississippi State 4, South Carolina 1

 

Top 5

With one out, Mia Davidson hit a solo home run off the scoreboard in right-center field.

Mississippi State 5, South Carolina 1

 

Top 6

McKenna drew a one-out walk, and Brylie St. Clair pinch ran at first. Montana Davidson hit an RBI double into right-center field to score St. Clair. Malau’ulu and Leilua then drew consecutive walks to load the bases. Following a strikeout, Mia Davidson drew a walk to score Montana Davidson from third.

Mississippi State 7, South Carolina 1

On Deck

The Bulldogs host No. 16 Tennessee on Wednesday, May 5 for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. CT. The two contests were originally scheduled as part of the teams’ series in April but were postponed to due positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the Tennessee program. 

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