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

Bulldogs cruise to 6-0 win behind timely hitting, host Hawkeyes in weekend bout

Leon Carruba
MSU Softball

After shutting out visiting Central Arkansas 6-0 Wednesday afternoon, the Mississippi State University softball team is off to an 11-0 start, its second best in program history. 

The win also marks the fifth shutout for the Bulldogs this season. 

Superb pitching and hitting was once again the calling card for the team. 

Sophomore pitcher Jacey Punches (4-0) turned in another solid performance, allowing only one single and walking two players in five innings of work.

At this point of the season, the pitching staff has allowed only six earned runs total. Punches said she credited the early success to the depth of the bullpen along with excellent effort on defense.

We have a very good pitching staff that goes very deep,” Punches said. “But you can’t have those wins without defense and hitting. The whole team has had our backs, and it’s a great start so far.”

The Bulldogs retired the Bears in order in the top of the first and would take an early lead in the bottom of the frame. 

After senior Jessica Offutt led off the inning with a single and stole second base, senior Logan Foulks brought her home on a one-out single to left-center field.

Foulks would later be caught trying to steal second, and Central Arkansas pitcher Kayla Gomness would strike out another to keep the score at 1-0. 

Punches and the Bulldogs encountered some trouble at the top of second with the bases loaded with two outs, but thwarted the Bears’ scoring efforts.

The Maroon and White added to its advantage in the bottom of the third with two more runs to push the score to 3-0. Central Arkansas would once again have a scoring opportunity in the fourth, but a heads-up defensive play from Punches ended their hopes. 

The sophomore pitcher allowed a lead-off walk to Jessie Taylor, and a sacrifice bunt advanced her to second with one out. 

After a fly-out, first baseman Ashley Boswell hit a line drive back to the pitcher’s mound. Punches reached out and batted the ball down, then promptly threw it to first for the inning-ending out.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Bulldogs tacked on their last runs of the day for a 6-0 final score. 

After a pop-out, sophomore Loryn Nichols moved to third with two outs, and Foulks drew a walk and stole second before senior Sam Lenahan homered to right center to close out MSU’s scoring.

Highly touted freshman Caroline Seitz continued to play like a seasoned upperclassman, with a perfect fielding percentage as well as impressive production on the offensive side of the ball. Seitz currently leads the team with 12 hits, two of them being home runs. She also has four doubles, one triple and five RBIs.

Seitz said her production at the plate is due to extra practice and help from head coach Vann Stuedeman.

“Coach really stresses working on your swing in practice and believing in it and buying into what the coaches have to say,” Seitz said.

Assistant coach Tyler Bratton also gave credit to the talented freshman for her play to start the season. Bratton said despite her youth, she rarely ever gets nervous on the field.

“She has veteran poise to only be a true freshman,” he said. “She handles herself very well on the field, and defensively she plays well beyond her years.”

Seitz and the MSU softball team will take their undefeated record into the weekend for a three-game home series against Iowa (3-6). The Friday and Saturday contests are at 3 p.m. with the Sunday game slated for 10 a.m.

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Bulldogs cruise to 6-0 win behind timely hitting, host Hawkeyes in weekend bout