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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Pitching dominates opening weekend

Alayna Stevens | The Reflector

Sophomore Madison Cousineau tosses the ball back to the pitcher. The Bulldogs are sitting at 3-2 overall after opening weekend. 

In the opening weekend for Mississippi State softball, the Bulldogs experienced many different kinds of games. MSU won two games on shutout performances, won one game on a walk-off victory and lost the championship game in extra innings.

Pitching dominated the entire weekend, and MSU only gave up five runs in five games. Regan Green and Alexis Silkwood starred on the mound, and MSU ended the weekend with a .90 ERA in the opening weekend. 

On the other hand, the Bulldogs struggled heavily at the plate and finished with a .221 batting average for the weekend. The lone star for the weekend was Silkwood. She hit .545 over the weekend with six hits and three doubles.

The Bulldogs made it to the championship game of the tournament with clutch hits and outstanding pitching. On the opening day, the Bulldogs shut out Georgia State 4-0 and Stephen F. Austin 2-0. The next day, MSU dropped a 0-1 game to Western Kentucky and defeated Stephen F. Austin 2-1 to make it to the championship game.

The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs dropped the final game of the Bulldog Kickoff Classic in a 12-inning defensive duel against Georgia State (4-1) this past Sunday afternoon.

Despite the unwanted result, heads were still held high and positivity was flowing through players and coaches. Coming into the game, pitchers had been making very impressive performances, and they did not let up today. Consistent outings in the circle left a good impression on the head coach.

“I thought all pitchers threw well,” coach Vann Stuedeman said. “Of course, we would like to hold everybody to zero and give us an opportunity to score, but they all gave us an opportunity to win every game. Really proud of the effort they gave and really proud of the effort that everyone gave.”

Green started in the circle for the Bulldogs. Green pitched five solid innings, only allowing one stray hit in the fifth inning, which led to a run for the Panthers. Holly Ward took over in the sixth, piecing together seven strong innings and allowing the defense to shine. Although being credited with the loss, Ward kept the Bulldogs in the game with dominant strike zone control. The five hits given up by Ward were hard earned and fell into hard-to-reach positions.

The Panthers matched the Bulldogs strong pitching performances with two of their own. Kinsley Jennings earned the win for GSU after coming on for Emily Soles, who pitched 10 innings of 1 run ball.

The game started out at a fast pace with both sides recording outs in minimal amounts of pitches. The first hit from either side was not recorded until the bottom of the third inning, when MSU Junior, Bevia Robinson, outran a throw to first on an infield single. 

The Bulldogs took this slight momentum into the next inning, piecing together a string of hits to strike first on the scoreboard. Morgan Bell roped a one out double to left center, immediately followed by a single from Silkwood and capped off with an RBI single to right field from Sarai Niu to put MSU up 1-0.

GSU responded quickly, putting up their own strand of hits that ended up tying the game in the top of the fifth inning. Both teams would then return to a pitcher’s duel for the next six innings. 

The Panthers finally made a move in the top of the 12th inning. A leadoff single started the rally, followed by a fielder’s choice to advance the runner to second. The next batter drove a single past the shortstop, driving in the go ahead run. GSU would go on to plate another run during the inning, giving MSU their 3-1 deficit. 

While the pitching was locked down throughout the weekend, offensive struggles look to be resolved in the near future.

“This game, we left 10 runners on in 12 innings,” Stuedeman said. “So, definitely just got to figure out how to do some situational hitting.”

The Bulldogs will return to Nusz Park on February 24th to face North Florida. Until then, they will be traveling to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to compete in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge this upcoming weekend. 

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Pitching dominates opening weekend