The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Dogs achieve victory against Alabama

After the visiting team scored three runs in the top of the 10th inning, an upset win was a distant dream now, but the Mississippi State University fans stayed to support the team. But then the unthinkable for State fans but the thinkable for Bulldog players and coaches happened. However, this time the come-from-behind win was not at Dudy Noble Field.

Sunday afternoon the MSU softball team duplicated the Diamond Dogs’ Saturday night extra-inning heroics by scoring four runs in the bottom of the 10th to knock off No. 2 Alabama 4-3. This time, though, the Dogs clinched the series and celebrated a little more enthusiastically. After a dog pile on the field and singing the fight song, the softball team ran to Chadwick Lake and jumped in.

Head coach Vann Stuedeman said assistant coach Beth Mullins said all year that when the team won a series, she would jump in the lake. But after a series win over the top team in the league, several other coaches and players joined Mullins.

“I’ve been saying all year ‘Something good is going to happen. Everybody just believe it.’ They felt it and made it happen,” a lake-soaked Stuedeman said. “I just think that is an incredible series. They (Alabama) are ranked that because they deserve it, and for us to come out and battle like we did — I’m just really proud of the players and proud of the sport of softball in general that we can go 10 innings and duel it out.”

With the win, MSU moved to 32-14, which is tied for the best program record through 46 games. Taking the series from softball-powerhouse Alabama gives the Dogs even more credibility in a conference that has eight teams currently ranked in the top 25.

Although the Crimson Tide pitching staff boasts an ERA of 1.78, the Bulldog pitchers came out on top led by SEC Pitcher of the Week Alison Owen. The senior standout pitched a total of 16 and two-thirds innings in less than 24 hours Saturday night and Sunday, finishing Saturday with 12 strikeouts and the win. 

After shutting out the Tide for nine innings Sunday, Owen surrendered three runs in the 10th but said she never lost faith in her team and still felt great after pitching so many innings (and jumping in the lake).

“I never had a doubt in my mind that the hitters didn’t have my back or the team’s back. They looked incredible all weekend, and I knew that if they kept putting a good swing on a good ball, we would be just fine,” she said. “We always call us the janitor team because we have our backs against the wall at all times, and we like it that way.”

MSU freshman pitcher Alexis Silkwood recorded the last out in the top of the 10th inning Sunday and earned her ninth win of the season. In the bottom of the inning, fellow freshman Katie Anne Bailey drove in the game-winning RBI on a sacrifice fly after a walk, hit by pitch, two fielder’s choices, an error and two singles scored three runs and kept the bases loaded with Bulldogs.

Bailey said there was no doubt in her mind her team would come back to get the win.

“When I came to bat, I was thinking, ‘I have a million options of ways to score that runner whether it was a hard ground ball this way, soft ground ball this way, outfield pop fly.’ All I did was take a deep breath and say, ‘I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else than right here right now,’ and that’s what it was,” Bailey said.

Senior Sam Lenahan, who singled in a run in the 10th, said most teams would be down after giving up three runs in the 10th, but the Dogs had so much drive and fight and believed they would win.

“There was never a doubt in my mind, and I know there was never a doubt in anyone else’s mind in that dugout that we were going to win that game,” Lenahan said. “I don’t think that will be the last time we do that. I think we are able to win the next three series we have, and I fully expect us to do that.”

The battles against top-ranked teams continue for MSU as it travels to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on the No. 5 Volunteers this weekend. But after a series win over Alabama, the Vols may be the team scared to welcome the Dogs.

Stuedeman said the series win was a key point in MSU’s season.

“These are pieces in the puzzle, steps in the process. You have to hit every single step; you can’t miss any of them, and this is a step in the right direction,” she said. “I think the whole league respects each other, and I think every outing you have, everybody is preparing just as hard for each opponent because everybody in this league is worthy of a top-20 ranking.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Reflector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Dogs achieve victory against Alabama