HOUSTON, Texas – Showing the fight of Mississippi State, the Bulldog softball team (32-22) battled back from deficits of 3-1, 4-1, 4-2 and 5-3 Monday night against Houston at the Cougar Softball Stadium.
Unfortunately for the Maroon and White, an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth inning was the difference, as Houston (38-17) escaped with a 6-5 win in the regular-season finale for both teams.
State was victim to poor defense, as the home team scored three runs on three errors. In addition to the defensive woes, the Bulldogs also left 12 runners on base, including leaving the bases loaded twice. After entering Sunday’s SEC finale against No. 14 Texas A&M 30-2 in 2013 when out-hitting its opponents, MSU lost its second-consecutive game despite having more hits than the Cougars.
The Bulldogs pounded out eight hits, including two from senior Shelby Fisher (2-for-4, RBI). Six of Fisher’s teammates also collected base knocks, including a two-RBI performance from junior Logan Foulks (1-for-3). Fellow junior Sam Lenahan hit her 10th home run of the season to go along with two walks, while third-year second baseman Heidi Shape recorded an RBI single and a career-high three walks.
Junior righty Alison Owen suffered the loss for MSU, falling to 16-12 on the year. Houston reliever Diedre Outon (11-6) picked up the win after finishing the game with 2.1 hitless inning.
Lenahan led off the game with a homer, but State quickly fell behind when the Cougars put up a three spot in the bottom of the first. Houston tied the game with an RBI single by Kayla Holland which fell inches in front of a diving Jessica Offutt. The next two runs came when MSU’s third baseman bobbled a high chopper and threw it into right field, giving the Cougars a 3-1 lead.
The Cougars made it 4-1 with a leadoff solo homer by Holland in the bottom of the third, before Foulks ripped a two-RBI single on the ground up the middle to cut MSU’s deficit to one. Once again, Houston responded with a leadoff solo shot by Julia Pecina, extending the home team’s lead to 5-3.
Starkville’s Team fought back once again in the top of the fifth, thanks to an RBI single by Fisher and a bases-loaded walk by Shape. However, for the second time in as many days, MSU gained the lead and lost the lead in the fifth stanza.
Deadlocked in a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the inning, Houston’s Reina Gaber reached first when the MSU first baseman dropped the low throw from short. Following a force out at second for the first out, Jaime Edwards hit a grounder to second. Shape tossed it to the shortstop on the bag and the shortstop fired over to first for the apparent double play, but the umpire near the second bag deemed the shortstop had not touched the bag. With the inning being extended due to the misstep, Pecina doubled to the gap in left for the game-winning run.
With the regular-season concluded, Mississippi State will learn its postseason fate Sunday at 9 p.m., as ESPNU televises the 2013 NCAA Tournament Selection Show. For updates on possible postseason information, follow the program on Twitter at @MStateSB. For pictures, like the team on Facebook at Facebook.com/MStateSB and visit the team's Instagram account at MStateSB. For pregame and postgame video, check out MSU's official YouTube channel at YouTube.com/HailState.