STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth, Mississippi State softball (7-1) scored four runs to earn a 6-3 come-from-behind victory over South Alabama (4-3) Friday afternoon at Nusz Park.
With two outs on the scoreboard, junior left fielder Emily Heimberger singled up the middle to plate the tying and go-ahead runs. The Bulldogs added two insurance runs in the inning to give senior Holy Ward a cushion in the circle before the right-hander tossed a perfect frame in the seventh for her third win of the season.
With freshman pitcher Emily Williams in the circle, South Alabama led off the game with a Kaleigh Todd single though the left side. Todd would advance to second on an infield groundout before stealing third. Mia Davidson's throw down to third on the steal attempt sailed into the outfield, allowing Todd to score and give USA an 1-0 advantage.
Davidson would help cut the deficit in the bottom of the first, getting on board with a hit by pitch before senior shortstop Reggie Harrison singled through the left side to move Davidson into scoring position. Junior infielder Sarai Niu then loaded the bases with her 27th career hit by pitch. Down in the final strike of the inning, junior outfielder Kate Moore singled to left center to drive in two runs and give State a 2-1 lead.
South Alabama and MSU would trade two scoreless innings before the Jaguars would lock the game up in the top of the fourth. A single and one-out walk would put two Jaguars on base before head coach Vann Stuedeman called for a pitching change, bringing in sophomore Candace Denis into the circle.
Denis would load the bases on a fielder's choice as redshirt junior third baseman Bevia Robinson was unable to place a tag on an infielder grounder. Denis forced another ground ball to third that Robinson rocketed to Davidson at home to record the second out of the inning to prevent a run scoring, but a bases-loaded walk would lock the game up at 2-2.
The Jaguars took advantage of a Mississippi State fielding error for an extra out in the top of the fifth and pushed across the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly.
Trailing by one, senior second baseman Calyn Adams led off the top of the sixth with a double to center field and was immediately lifted for sophomore pinch runner Maddie Dorsett. Robinson flashed her speed to leg out a double to shallow left to put two Bulldogs into scoring position.
Denis would knock a grounder to second, but South Alabama chose to make the play at home and tagged out Dorsett to keep State off the board. After Denis swiped second, Heimberger singled up the middle to score two and put the Dogs back out top 4-3.
Davidson landed a picture-perfect triple just fair in right field to score Heimberger. South Alabama's throw from the outfield was off target and allowed Davidson to come home on the play to give MSU a 6-3 lead.
Pitching the final three innings, Ward tossed a 1-2-3 seventh inning to improve to 3-1 on the year. Ward struck out four and allowed just two hits in the relief appearance.
Weather once again disrupted the schedule as the Bulldogs' rematch with Drake was washed out. The two teams will now play at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 11 a.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 def. South Alabama, 4-1
Game 5 – Mississippi State def. South Alabama, 6-3
Sunday, Feb. 18
Game 6 – Drake vs. South Alabama – 9 a.m. CT
Game 7 – Mississippi State vs. Drake – 11 a.m. CT
Game 8 – South Alabama vs. Murray State – 1 p.m. CT