May 5, 2014 11:37:14 AM
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Mississippi State softball team used a solo home run by freshman Caroline Seitz in the seventh inning to break a tie and beat No. 25 LSU 4-3 on Sunday at Tiger Park.
Seitz went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored to help MSU (38-18, 10-14 Southeastern Conference) close the regular season with a victory.
The victory helped MSU record the second-best 56-game record in program history, one game behind the 2008 squad's 39-17 mark. MSU also earned its eighth victory of the season against a top-25 club, which is tied for the second most in a year in program history. The 10 true road wins are tied for the fifth most by a MSU club. The 38 regular-season wins are the third most in school history.
MSU will return to action at 3 p.m. Wednesday (ESPNU) when it takes on No. 7 seed Kentucky in the SEC tournament at the Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field in Columbia, S.C.
MSU lost to No. 3 Alabama 5-2 on May 10, 2012, in its last appearance in the SEC tournament. MSU's record at the tournament is 11-20.
This season, MSU lost two of three games to Kentucky.
On Sunday, freshman Alexis Silkwood (13-6) helped preserve the victory by striking out the final two batters with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh.
The Bulldogs trailed 1-0 going to the top of the fourth when a wild pitch brought in junior pinch runner Ashley Phillips to tie the game before a sacrifice fly from freshman Mackenzie Toler delivered senior Logan Foulks for a 2-1 lead. MSU added another run in the fifth, but LSU scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to even the game going into the seventh.
Senior Alison Owen rebounded from a shaky start Saturday to throw 5 1/3 innings. She allowed three runs (two earned), seven hits, and two walks. She struck out three. Silkwood pitched the final 1 2/3 innings and allowed two hits and one walk. She struck out three.
LSU's Ashley Czechner (12-12) went the distance, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk. She struck out six and hit five.
LSU (34-21, 13-11) threatened to take a lead in the first but stranded two. With one out, Jacee Blades singled to first baseman Foulks, who threw wide to first, allowing Blades to get to second. A groundout moved Blades to third and Bianka Bell drew a two-out walk to put runners on the corners. Kellsi Kloss struck out to end the threat.
MSU had one base runner in the first and second innings, but couldn't convert. Junior Julia Echols had a two-out single in the first and Seitz was hit by a pitch to open the second, but neither advanced past first base.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on a play that involved a runner passing another on the bases. With one out, Allison Falcon was hit by a pitch. Tammy Wray followed with a ball over the fence in left, but Wray passed Falcon on the bases. Wray was called out for passing Falcon, but Falcon's run counted. A fly out to center ended the inning.
MSU threatened again in the top of the third with two more runners, but couldn't convert. Sophomore Loryn Nichols led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. With one out, senior Heidi Shape reached on catcher's interference to put runners on first and second. Consecutive strikeouts allowed Czechner to escape without damage.
The Bulldogs broke through in the top of the fourth with two runs to go ahead 2-1. Seitz started the frame with a double and Foulks was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs. Phillips entered to pinch run for Seitz and moved to third as Foulks went to second on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Katie Anne Bailey. A Czechner wild pitch plated Phillips to tie the game at 1-1. Foulks went to third on the wild pitch and then scored on a sacrifice fly from Toler. A strikeout ended the threat.
MSU made it 3-1 in the fifth. With one out, Shape singled up the middle. After a foul out, senior Sam Lenahan was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Seitz delivered again with a single up the middle that plated Shape.
The Tigers had an opportunity to cut into the deficit in the bottom half of the inning. With two outs, A.J. Andrews singled and Blades walked. Owen retired Sahvanna Jaquish on a foul out to Foulks at first to end the inning.
LSU tied the game in the bottom of the sixth. Bell and Kloss started the frame with consecutive singles to left to put runners on first and second. After a groundout moved the runners up a base, Falcon singled through the left side to make it 3-2. Silkwood entered for Owen. With an 0-2 count on Wray, Falcon took off for second. Catcher Lenahan threw to second, but Shape touched the ball and it bounced into center, allowing Kloss to score. A Wray strikeout and groundout ended the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Seitz hit a one-out home run that accounted for the final margin.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Tigers loaded the bases with one out. Andrews led off with a single. After a foul out on a bunt attempt, Jaquish singled to put runners on first and second. Bell was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. Kloss and Sandra Simmons struck out swinging to end the game.
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