Walk-Off Double Gives MSU Softball Twitter Tuesday Win Against UAB
|Mississippi State 4, UAB 3
|LSU 2, Georgia Tech 1
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Redshirt sophomore shortstop Erin Nesbit celebrated Twitter Tuesday by blasting a walk-off double deep into the Mississippi night, as the Bulldog softball team (@MStateSB) defeated the University of Alabama at Birmingham (@UAB_Softball), 4-3, at the MSU Softball Stadium. Starkville's team improved to 18-12 overall, while the Green and Gold fell to 16-11 on this year's campaign.
“One of the things that Erin does so great is that she is relentless,” head coach Vann Stuedeman (@MSUVanntastic) said. “She stays focused on the moment and I could not be any happier for her right now. She came through with a timely hit that we have needed desperately over the past few games.”
Going up against the alma mater of assistant coach Beth Mullins (@MStateMullins), Nesbit (@ErinNesbit05) collected her only hit of the night when it mattered most, finishing 1-for-4 with a run driven in. Also having nice nights at the dish were sophomore center fielder Jessica Offutt (2-for-4) and junior left fielder Jessica Cooley (@Jcool002), who finished 1-for-3 with a run scored and a walk.
Moving to double digits in the win column, junior left-handed pitcher Stephanie Becker improved to 10-5 on the year after giving up just one run on three hits in 6.1 innings of work. The Chicago southpaw fanned seven Blazer batters without issuing a free pass. UAB righty Leigh Streetman suffered the loss, falling to 6-4 in 2012 after surrendering two runs on two hits and three walks in the final 2.1 innings.
After UAB plated a run in the top of the first, the Bulldogs bounced back in the bottom half of the frame. Senior catcher Ka’ili Smith led off by reaching on a fielding error by Blazers’ shortstop Catherine Crawford, and advanced to second when Offutt pinched it through the right side of the infield for a single. Following a MSU strikeout, both runners advanced a base on a passed ball by UAB starting pitcher Lannah Campbell. With two in scoring position, sophomore catcher Sam Lenahan hit a routine flyout to left field. Offutt threatened to tag from third but returned to the bag, causing UAB’s Kayla Orr to throw it there in an attempt to tag out MSU’s center fielder. The throw went high and rolled all the way around the backstop, allowing Offutt to tie the game at one on the throwing error.
Offutt reached again in the bottom of the third with an infield single to the hot corner at third. Redshirt senior Brittany Bell put two Bulldogs on when she singled to shortstop. Both Maroon base runners swiped a bag to put a runner on second and third, as Lenahan was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Sophomore second baseman Heidi Shape then grounded a 1-2 pitch to Crawford at short, who was late in throwing home as Offutt slid in safe to beat the potential force out. The run gave the home team a slim 2-1 advantage after three.
The Blazers jumped out to a 3-2 lead with two runs in the sixth before the Maroon and White barked back in the bottom part of the inning. Senior right fielder Brittany Gates singled with a worm burner up the middle and advanced to second and third thanks to a sacrifice bunt by Smith and a groundout to the pitcher by Offutt. With the sophomore on the corner, Bell popped up a 0-1 offering to the catcher on the first-base line. UAB catcher Mandy Lowman dropped the fly ball as it bounced into fair territory, causing Offutt to race home for the tying run as Bell sprinted to second.
Deadlocked at three heading into the bottom of the seventh, State pulled off some Bully magic that started when Cooley reached on a full-count walk. Pinch hitter Chrissie Rovtar (@CRov_44) advanced her fellow junior to second with a sacrifice bunt. That set the stage for Nesbit, who deposited a 3-2 double over the left fielder’s head, causing Cooley to score and giving MSU its first walk-off win of the Stuedeman era.
Starkville’s team returns to conference action Friday as it takes on the No. 12/11 Tennessee Lady Volunteers (@LadyVol_Sftball) for a three-game weekend series at the MSU Softball Stadium. First pitch is 5:30 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
LSU Softball Slides Past Georgia Tech
BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU softball team used a solid Brittany Mack pitching performance, alert baserunning from Alex Boulet and a timely two-out Tammy Wray RBI-single to notch its 20th victory of the season, a 2-1 triumph, over Georgia Tech Tuesday at Tiger Park.
LSU (20-8) won its fourth straight game and for the 17th time in its last 21 outings dating back to Feb. 19, while Georgia Tech (19-14) had its three-game winning streak halted.
In a battle of All-Americans, Mack outdueled Hope Rush on the pitcher’s mound. Mack won her sixth straight decision and improved to 9-4 on the season. The senior right-hander was touched up for an unearned run on five hits. She racked up nine strikeouts against five walks and stranded 10 Georgia Tech baserunners, six in scoring position.
“The bottom line is that Brittany Mack was phenomenal tonight,” head coach Beth Torina said. “She not only kept us in it with her pitching, but tonight she played defense. I thought she was really tough to hit for the entire game. I thought there was never a question with her. She was really solid and one of her best performances of the year.”
Trailing 1-0 in the fourth inning, Dylan Supak drew a leadoff walk to spark the Tigers. Pinch runner Alex Boulet advanced to second base on an Ashley Applegate ground out and scooted over to third base on a Lauren Houston fly ball to right field.
The frame stayed alive as Rikki Alcaraz drew a walk to place runners on the corners. That set the stage for Boulet, who alertly stole home to even the tally at 1-1 after a pickoff attempt of Alcaraz at first base. On the throw home, Alcaraz moved up to second base.
“I knew it was a really tight situation when they called me in,” Boulet said. “We had nobody out so we had a really good chance to score. Coach [Torina] talks about stepping up when your number is called all the time. I love when my name is called to run – it’s my favorite thing to do because I like to try and make things happen.”
On a full count offering, Wray ripped a RBI single through the middle to vault LSU ahead by a 2-1 margin.
“It was unbelievable because we all know that [Alex] Boulet has amazing speed,” Mack said. “She’s probably our best base-runner. And to have her just steal home like that got so much momentum and got everyone pumped up. For Tammy Wray to come in and get that hit, was just unbelievable – not just for us, but for her confidence. She was totally a different person out there on defense – relaxed and smiling. That just made me play that much better to see how positive she was.”
Georgia Tech’s best opportunity to draw even came during the sixth inning. The Yellow Jackets put runners on first and second base, but Mack helped her own cause by fielding a ground ball to keep the score at 2-1.
After a one-out hit batter, Mack received a stellar play from catcher Lauren Houston, who threw out the Georgia Tech runner attempting to steal second base. Two batters later, Mack fanned her counterpart, Rush, to close out the 2-1 win.
Rush fell to 12-9 for the season and surrendered two runs on four hits. LSU’s offense also worked their way to seven walks.
Offensively, Jacee Blades reached base all three times from the leadoff spot, while Applegate coaxed a pair of free passes.
“Honestly, our team has shown so much resilience, being able to call on anyone,” Torina said. “We’ve been able to get so many people in the lineup. Jacee Blades has stepped up big for the team over the last four games. She’s been such a huge help for this team, and she’s done so many things to spark this offense.
LSU returns to the road Friday to open a three-game SEC weekend series at South Carolina. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m. CT with live audio and live stats available inside the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net. The game also will be carried live on Country Legends 104.9 FM in the Baton Rouge area.