STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Three Bulldogs turned in multi-RBI performances to help carry No. 25 Mississippi State (13-3) to a 6-3 victory over Lamar (7-9) Friday afternoon at Nusz Park to open the Bulldog Slamboree.
Junior Kat Moore and freshmen Mia Davidson and Carter Spexarth delivered base-clearing, extra-base hit to each pick up two RBIs in State's victory.
"I'm really proud of the pitching and the hitting," said head coach Vann Stuedeman. "Right now, we are out-hitting our errors and that is what has kept us higher in the win total than on the opposite side. Pitching and hitting have been really good. We've got to clean up some defense, but as long as we can out-hit our errors and our pitchers allow few extra-base hits, we can keep grinding."
State got on the board early in the top of the first as Davidson slugged her fifth home run of the season after Moore drew a leadoff walk to give MSU a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the second, seniors Carmen Cater and Calyn Adams got on base via hit by pitch and a walk, respectively with one out. Lamar was able to force redshirt junior Bevia Robinson to fly out to left for the second out, but Moore cleared the bases with a triple to push MSU's lead to 4-0.
In her start of the season, sophomore Candace Denis (1-0) kept the Cardinals off the board until the third inning after the Cardinals worked a leadoff walk into a RBI off an infield groundout in the inning to cut MSU's lead to 4-1. Denis would toss the first four innings of the game allowing one run off two hits and three walks while striking out two.
After trading a scoreless fourth inning, Mississippi State went back to the offensive in the fifth. Junior Emily Heimberger sparked the offensive run, getting on base via a fielder's choice before senior Morgan Bell drew a two-out walk. In her first collegiate at bat, Spexarth slugged a two-out double to clear the bases to put MSU up 6-1.
Senior Holly Ward tossed the final three innings of the game, keeping the Cardinals off the board until the seventh inning. After a leadoff single and back-to-back fielder's choice, the Cardinals plated two runs off a Shelby Hughston double down the left field line to cut MSU's lead to 6-3. Ward responded with a huge strike out to preserve the win and earn her first save of the year.
Mississippi State continues the Bulldog Slamboree on Saturday, March 3 with a doubleheader versus Mercer and Sam Houston State. First pitch against the Bears is slated for 11:30 a.m. CT with the Bulldogs returning to the field at 2 p.m. CT to take on the Bearkats.
2018 BULLDOG SLAMBOREE SCHEDULE
Friday, March 2
Game One – Sam Houston State def. Mercer, 1-0
Game Two – Mercer def. Lamar, 2-1
Game Three – Mississippi State def. Lamar, 6-3
Game Four – Sam Houston State def. Alcorn State, 5-3
Saturday, March 3
Game Five – Lamar vs. Mercer – 9:00 a.m. CT
Game Six – Mississippi State vs. Mercer – 11:30 a.m. CT
Game Seven – Mississippi State vs. Sam Houston State – 2:00 p.m. CT
Game Eight – Alcorn State vs. Sam Houston State – 4:30 p.m. CT
Game Nine – Alcorn State vs. Lamar – 7:00 p.m. CT
Sunday, March 4
Game Ten – Mercer vs. Alcorn State – 9:00 a.m. CT
Game Eleven – Lamar vs. Alcorn State – 11:30 a.m. CT
Game Twelve – Mississippi State vs. Sam Houston State – 2:00 p.m. CT