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MSU softball eliminated in regional tournament




From Special Reports 


LAFAYETTE, La. -- Mississippi State notched its first postseason win of the year with a 5-3 win over Texas Southern Saturday in the Lafayette Regional being held at Lamson Park. 


The excitement was short-lived as later Saturday Texas bounced MSU with a 4-3 win. 


Texas also handed MSU a 1-0 defeat in the tournament opener Friday. 


MSU finishes the season 39-21. 


Against Texas Southern, freshman Alexis Silkwood (14-7) got the start and tallied a Mississippi State freshman record for an NCAA Tournament game with 11 strikeouts. The 11 whiffs were one shy of her MSU freshman single-game record she set at FAU on Feb. 13. Of the first 16 outs of the game, 10 were whiffs. Silkwood gave up three runs, all unearned, on four hits. Sammantha Jimenez (7-5) took the loss after yielding five runs, four earned, on six hits and three walks. She fanned two and hit two. Jeneice Tillman entered for the remaining inning-and-two-thirds, allowing two hits and one walk. 


In game one, Mississippi State took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. After a groundout started the frame, senior Heidi Shape tripled to right field and scored on a sacrifice fly from freshman Caroline Seitz. Senior Logan Foulks followed with a single to right center, but a strikeout closed the frame. 


The Bulldogs had a chance to add to their lead in the second inning, but stranded a pair. Freshman Mackenzie Toler led off with a hit by pitch. Classmate Katie Anne Bailey followed with a ground ball to the third baseman, who threw to the second baseman for the force on Toler, but the toss to first for the attempted double play went wide and allowed Bailey to move to second. Sophomore Kayla Winkfield reached on an infield single that advanced Bailey to third, but consecutive groundouts left the two on base. 


In the top of the fourth, Texas Southern had its first base runner as Jessica Miller led off with a single just out of reach of a diving Winkfield at shortstop. A sacrifice bunt moved Miller to second and she advanced to third on another groundout, but Silkwood recorded a strikeout to extinguish the threat. 


After the defensive hold, the MSU broke the game open with three runs for a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Senior Sam Lenahan reached on a two-base error as the Texas Southern shortstop Princess Daniels dropped a pop up to start the frame. After a fly out, Bailey walked to put runners on first and second with one down. The pair executed a double steal and Lenahan scored on a Winkfield infield single.  


Senior Jessica Offutt followed with a squeeze bunt that plated Bailey for a 3-0 advantage. Junior Julia Echols was hit by a pitch to load the bases and a wild pitch brought in Winkfield for a four-run cushion. Following a groundout, redshirt freshman pinch hitter Olivia Golden walked to fill the bases. A strikeout allowed Jimenez to avoid further damage. 


Mississippi State pushed across another run in the bottom of the fifth with Lenahan again providing the spark. She led off with a walk and was replaced at first by sophomore pinch runner Loryn Nichols. Nichols stole second and, after a foul out, scored on single to center on the 10th pitch of Bailey's at-bat. Tillman entered for Jimenez and walked junior pinch hitter Katie Gentle to put runners on first and second with one out. A pop out and fly out left two on base. 


The Lady Tigers scored three runs in the top of the sixth to make it a 5-3 affair. With one out, Jessica Miller reached on an error, stole second base, moved to third on an infield single by Daniels and scored on a groundout. With two outs, Briana Parker singled through the right side to drive in Daniels and make it a 5-2 contest.  


Pinch runner Precious Alvizo entered for Parker and advanced to second on a passed ball. Alvizo scored on a double inside the left-field line from Thomasina Garza. Silkwood settled back down and ended the inning with a strikeout. 


In the bottom of the sixth, Mississippi State had a chance to answer but left two on base. After a fly out started the frame, Seitz doubled to right center and Foulks reached on an infield single. A groundout moved Seitz to third and Foulks to second. Junior Ashley Phillips entered to pinch run for Foulks, but a strike out closed the frame. 


n Texas 1, MSU 0 (Friday): At Lafayette, La., a two-out home run from Brejae Washington in the bottom of the third provided the only offense Texas would need. 


The Bulldogs picked up just four hits, with junior Julia Echols recording two, as the Longhorns' Tiarra Davis tossed the complete game shutout. MSU had the tying run on second base in the top of the seventh, but could not even the game. 


Senior Alison Owen (18-12) suffered the tough-luck loss, throwing four innings and scattering four hits. She walked two and struck out five. Silkwood came in for the remaining two innings and limited the Longhorns to a walk and she struck out one. Davis (19-12) fanned seven, walked one and hit another in the performance. 


MSU threatened immediately in the top of the first, but could not convert. Echols led off with a double to right center before a lineout, pop out and strikeout left her stranded. 


Texas (34-21) mounted a two-out rally in the bottom of the second and was held off the scoreboard. With two outs, Davis reached on a fielding error. Mandy Ogle checked her swing, but hit the ball and it rolled between Owen and senior first baseman Logan Foulks for a single. Senior second baseman Heidi Shape picked up the loose ball and caught Davis in a rundown that ended the inning as sophomore shortstop Kayla Winkfield applied the tag. 


Echols reached again in the top of the third, getting hit by a pitch with one out, but was left on base after a fly out and strikeout. 


In the bottom of the frame, Texas took a 1-0 lead with a two-out homer from Washington. Lindsey Stephens followed with a double off the wall in right and Taylor Thom walked. With Devon Tunning at the plate, Stephens was picked off second to close the inning. 


The Bulldogs recorded their second hit of the contest in the top of the fourth with a one-out double from Foulks on the eighth pitch of the at-bat. Junior Ashley Phillips entered to run at second for Foulks. Davis again settled down and ended the frame with a strikeout and fly out. 


In the top of the fifth, Echols tried to provide another spark to the offense with a two-out single, but Davis recorded an inning-closing groundout. 


After going down in order in the sixth, MSU got its leadoff batter on in the seventh but could not even the score. Freshman Katie Anne Bailey singled through the left side to open the frame and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Davis ended the game with a pair of strikeouts.



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