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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

MSU softball brings heat during Puerto Vallarta College Challenge

Gabi Cramer

Mississippi State University’s softball team brought home a victory in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge this past weekend by winning two out of the three games played.

To start the weekend off strong, MSU defeated No. 8 Clemson University 6-3 on Saturday afternoon. Mississippi State scored early and did not let up as the game continued. The first two scores of the game came from freshman infielder Salen Hawkins when she drew a walk off. Fifth year infielder Madisyn Kennedy followed close behind Hawkins with a home run to center field.

Throughout the game, Kennedy drove in three runs with a two-run homer and a double. State brought in six runs against the reigning National Player of the Year, Valerie Cagle.

MSU’s fifth year pitcher Aspen Wesley threw her second game of the week and came close to earning a career-high of 9 strikeouts.

To continue the weekend, Mississippi State went up against No. 13 Utah Saturday night and defeated them in a run-rule. MSU took a 10-2 victory in six innings, making this their fifth run-rule of the season and third game to score in the double digits.

In the top of the third, MSU bounced back after losing a run to Utah in the bottom of the first. Junior outfielder Sierra Sacco and sophomore infielder Nadia Barbary each opened the inning with a walk before junior catcher and outfielder Jessie Blaine hit a three-run homer.

MSU sent nine batters to the plate in the top of the fifth inning, which allowed for a two-run double by Hawkins. Hawkins also followed a Utah homer with a second two-run double in her first career multi-RBI game. During the game, Mississippi State got RBI singles from graduate infielder Aquana Brownlee, fifth year pitcher Matalasi Faapito and freshman catcher and outfielder Ella Wesolowski.

Sophomore pitcher Josey Marron was successful yet again on the mound as she threw 4.1 innings and allowed only one run. The Bulldogs are 14-2 with Marron’s 16 career starts and her third straight win.

To finish the weekend, MSU played the University of California, Davis Sunday morning. The Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the season of 2-1 to the Aggies.

UC Davis opened the scoring in the first inning by a throwing error in a pickoff attempt. Mississippi State followed their score in the third inning by loading the bases. Brownlee safely reached first base, allowing Barbary to score for the Bulldogs.

The game was tied until the seventh inning when UC Davis’ Sarah Nakahara sent a ball down the left field line where it was lost in the players’ eyes from the sun and fell for a leadoff double. Shortly after, Nakahara scored after a sacrifice bunt and a lineout.

Faapito threw a complete game and struck out seven. This was Faapito’s eighth career complete game allowing two runs or less.

Despite losing the last game of the tournament, multiple players had many game standouts during Sunday’s efforts. Brownlee drove MSU’s lone run, reaching on fielder’s choice. Fifth year utility player Paige Cook went 2-for-3 for her 35th career multi-hit game. Freshman infielder Kylee Edwards went 2-for-3 with a double and a triple and posted her second career multi-hit game.

The Bulldogs will return to play next week at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic Feb. 22-24 in Cathedral City, California, where they will play five games. MSU will open the tournament against UCF and Notre Dame on Thursday Feb. 22.

About the Contributor
Parker Acosta
Parker Acosta, Staff Writer
Parker Acosta is a sophomore communication major. Parker is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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