STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - After suffering its first loss of the season in extra-innings versus Drake (6-3) on Friday evening, Mississippi State (8-1) softball evened the score on Sunday, closing the February Freezer with a 1-0 victory over the Bulldogs at Nusz Park.
State only recorded five hits in the contests, two of which came of the bat of sophomore pitcher/utility player Candace Denis. The biggest of her hits was an RBI double in the top of the fifth to carry MSU to an 1-0 victory.
Senior right-hander pitcher Cassady Knudsen improved to 3-0 after another impressive performance in the circle. Knudson tossed 6.2 innings against Drake, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out 13, tying her career high.
Knudsen combined with senior right-handed pitcher Holly Ward for the shutout victory. Ward came into the game in the top of the seventh to force a groundout to third for the secondo out of the inning before Knudsen returned to the circle to close the game.
Knudsen and Drake's Nicole Timmons were locked in a heated pitcher's duel early on in the contest. The duo allowed just two hits and left three runners stranded over the first four innings of play.
Drake had an opportunity in the top of the fifth to score a run as a single and stolen base put a Bulldog in scoring position. Knudsen recorded the second out with a huge strikeout, but another Drake single looked poised to bring home a run. Redshirt junior left fielder Bevia Robinson prevented the scoring opportunity as she rocketed a throw to freshman catcher Mia Davidson at the plate to record the final out of the inning.
Senior infielder Calyn Adams drew a two-out walk in the home-half of the fifth inning to begin MSU's scoring run. After Adams was lifted for sophomore pinch runner Maddie Dorsett, Robinson singled to center to move Dorsett into scoring position. Denis delivered the crushing blow with a double down the left field line to plate Dorsett and give State an 1-0 lead.
Drake has another scoring opportunity in the top of the sixth with a lead-=off double and a one-out walk to put the go-ahead run on base. After a foul out, Robinson reeled in a fly ball at the left field wall to retire the side.
Knudsen and Ward combined for a perfect 1-2-3 inning in the top of the seventh to secure the 1-0 victory for State.
Mississippi State wraps up its homestand on Tuesday, Feb. 20 with a midweek contest versus Southeastern Louisiana at 5:30 p.m. CT. Tuesday marks the second "No One Fights Alone" game as fans are encouraged to join the team by wearing teal to bring awareness to ovarian cancer.
2018 Bulldog Kickoff Classic Results
Friday, Feb. 16
Game 1 – Murray State def. Drake, 5-3
Game 2 – Mississippi State def. Murray State, 6-1
Game 3 – Drake def. Mississippi State, 1-0 (8)
Saturday, Feb. 17
Game 4 – Murray State def. South Alabama, 4-1
Game 5 – Mississippi State def. South Alabama, 6-3
Sunday, Feb. 18
Game 6 – Drake def. South Alabama, 4-0
Game 7 – Mississippi State def. Drake, 1-0
Game 8 – South Alabama def. Murray State, 3-1