STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Mississippi State softball (6-1) opened Friday's February Freezer tournament with a 6-1 victory over Murray State (2-4), but the Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the season as Drake (5-2) edged out MSU, 1-0, in extra innings.
In Friday's opening contests, freshman pitcher Emily Williams had a rocky start in the circle issues a lead-off walk to Murray State's Brenna Finck. Finck would capitalized on a couple wild pitches to come around and score the first run allowed by the Bulldog pitching staff.
It did not take the Bulldogs long to respond as freshman catcher/infield Mia Davidson slugged a double to right field and advance to third on senior shortstop Reggie Harrison's infield groundout. Senior utility player Morgan Bell Drove Davidson home to tie the game up at 1-1. The Bulldogs would take advantage of a Murray State error in the first inning to score to additional runs to take a 3-1 lead.
Senior catcher/infielder Calyn Adams led off the top of second with a double to right center before scoring on redshirt junior utility player Bevia Robinson's triple to left field. Robinson would make it a 5-1 Mississippi State lead, scoring on Davidson's sacrifice fly to center field.
Junior utility player Emily Heimberger drove in the final run of the game in the bottom of the fifth. After Harrison drew a one-walk and advanced to second on a Bell single, Heimberger plated the final run with a single to left field.
Williams settled down after the field inning, allowing just two hits and two walk over 4.0 innings of work to advance to 2-0 over her rookie season. Williams also struck out seven in the contests and has struck out at least five batters in both of her starts in 2018. Sophomore pitcher/utility player Candace Denis recorded her first save as a Bulldog as tossing the final three innings. Denis allowed one hit, one walk and struck out three.
Friday's night cap featured a pitching battle between MSU's Holly Ward (2-1) and Drake's Nicole Newman. Ward gave up a lead-off infield single, but Drake would not see a base runner again until the top of the fourth as the righter-hander retired 10 straight.
Mississippi State had scoring opportunities in regulation and had a Bulldog on third base twice, but could not string together any hits to push across a run.
Drake would knock a one-out single in the top of the eighth and would move the base runner to third on a MSU error as Bevia Robinson overthrew second on a fielder's choice. Drake would push across the run with a play at the plate as Robinson target beat the runner but was mishandle for an error.
State got the tying run on board with two outs as junior infielder Sarai Niu drew a walk, but Drake pitcher Kailee Smith forced a groundout to third to pick up the save.
Weather permitting, Mississippi State returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 17, closing out the February Freezer with a doubleheader against South Alabama and Drake. State opens Saturday's action versus South Alabama at 1:30 p.m. CT before the rematch with Drake at 4 p.m. CT
2018 February Freezer 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 vs. South Alabama – 11 a.m. CT
Game 5 – Mississippi State vs. South Alabama – 1:30 p.m. CT
Game 6 – Mississippi State vs. Drake – 4 p.m. CT
Game 7 – Murray State vs. Drake – 6:30 p.m. CT
Sunday, Feb. 18
Game 8 – Drake vs. South Alabama – 11 a.m. CT
Game 9 – South Alabama vs. Murray State – 1:30 p.m. CT