STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Senior Holly Ward kept Sam Houston State (6-12) off-balanced to record her third shutout of the season as No. 25 Mississippi State capped an undefeated weekend over the Bulldog Slamboree with a 5-0 victory on Sunday at Nusz Park.
Ward (7-2) was aggressive in the circle, recording a strike on the first or second pitch on every single batter she faced. The right-hander racked up 10 strikeouts and did not allow a free pass in the game. Ward gave up two hits, but neither one left the infield.
"Holly (Ward) pitched lights out," head coach Vann Stuedeman said. "She did a Vann-tastic job. We used all of her pitches today. We tried some different pitches in some different situations to get ready for conference play. She's feeling pretty confident now. We just have to keep her there."
At the plate, MSU was led by junior Emily Heimberger, who went 3-for-3 with a double and three runs scored. Senior Calyn Adams did not record a hit, put plated two runs on two sacrifice flies in Sunday's finale.
After trading a scoreless first inning, Mississippi State got on the board in the bottom of the second. Heimberger led off the inning with an infield single knocked back to Sam Houston State's pitcher Lindsey McLeod. The Bulldogs would quickly load up the bases with no outs with back-to-back walks to seniors Carmen Carter and Morgan Bell.
Adams drove a long fly ball to right field for her first sacrifice fly of the game, plating Heimberger. A wild throw by SHSU trying to prevent Carter from advancing to third on the play landed in foul territory as Carter took advantage of the error to score and give MSU a 2-0 lead.
Heimberger sparked MSU's second two-run inning of the game after leading off the bottom of the fourth with a single up the middle. Carter followed with her second hit of the game with a single to second base before pinch-hitter sophomore Candace Denis singled up the middle to load the bases with no outs.
Adams fouled out to the catcher, but the tricky pop up allowed Heimberger to score and credit Adams with her second sacrifice fly and RBI of the game. Redshirt junior, Bevia Robinson followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to score Carter and push the lead to 4-0.
Heimberger plated the final run of the game in the bottom of the sixth. After leading off with a double to right center, the speedy junior stole third, but a poor throw on the play sent the ball into the outfield, allowing Heimberger to score on the error.