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Bell's blast sparks MSU softball team past South Carolina


From Special Reports



STARKVILLE -- Morgan Bell's two-run home run to right-center field in the fourth inning Sunday sparked the Mississippi State softball team to a 5-2 victory against South Carolina at Nusz Park. 


The victory helped MSU (29-13, 4-8 Southeastern Conference) secure its first SEC series win of the season. South Carolina slipped to 23-16 and 3-8. 


Bell's home run broke a 2-2 tie and gave MSU its first lead. 


It was not the only home run on the day, as USC opened up the scoring with a two-run home run in the third to take a 2-0 lead. 


MSU answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning thanks to back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt led to Alexis Silkwood scoring on a passed ball. 


MSU completed its 12th comeback of the season an inning later. Reggie Harrison led off with a double and moved to third base on a groundout. She scored on a squeeze bunt by Calyn Adams. 


Bell put MSU in front for good by hitting a 2-1 pitch for her third home run of the season. 


After a scoreless fifth, the Bulldogs went back to work in the sixth. Adams reached on a fielder's choice and moved to second on her first stolen base. Silkwood's single accounted for the final margin. 


USC started the seventh with a walk. Silkwood turned a 1-3 double play, but the Gamecocks kept the inning alive with a single. Holly Ward worked around another two-out single to earn her first save. 


Cassady Knudsen (6-3) allowed one hit and no runs in three innings. She struck out seven. Silkwood earned the start, throwing 3 2/3 innings and striking out three. 


MSU will travel to Athens, Georgia, this weekend to take on No. 19 Georgia. The series starts Friday. All three games will be streamed on SEC Network +. 


n No. 21 Ole Miss falls to No. 5 Auburn: At Auburn, Alabama, For the third-straight day, No. 21 Ole Miss scored first against No. 5 Auburn, but a first inning response lifted the Tigers to a 3-1 series-deciding win Sunday afternoon at Jane B. Moore Field. 


A day after the teams combined for 28 hits Saturday in a 10-4 win for Ole Miss (26-13, 3-9 SEC), both pitchers held the opposing hitters in check. Kaitlin Lee got the starting nod for the Rebels and went the distance. She allowed five hits, while Auburn's Kaylee Carlson gave up four hits to earn her 20th win. 


Elantra Cox had two hits and scored a run, while Kylan Becker and Sarah Van Schaik had hits. Auburn's Carlee Wallace and Kasey Cooper were responsible for all three runs and four of the hits. 


In the first, Cox got the gears turning with a leadoff bunt single. Becker reached on a hard single to center. After Miranda Strother reached on a fielders' choice, she stole second and Cox scored when the throw down to second went into center field. 


Auburn responded in its first chance when Cooper drove in Wallace with an RBI triple just inside the right-field line. Alyssa Rivera then blooped a popup between Ashton Lampton at third and Paige McKinney at shortstop to make it 2-1. 


The Tigers added an insurance run in the third when Wallace doubled and scored on Cooper's single up the middle. 


From there, the pitchers traded 1-2-3 frames in the middle innings. Cox broke up Carlson's streak of 16 hitters retired in order with a triple into the right-field corner with one out, but Carlson worked out of the jam. 


The Rebels threatened again in the seventh, as Van Schaik led off with a single down the right-field line, but three-straight hard-hit balls went right at an opposing fielder. 


No. 21 Ole Miss will play host to Memphis at 6 p.m. Wednesday. 


n No. 12 Alabama beats No. 8 LSU: At Tuscaloosa, Alabama, A two-run double by Marisa Runyon lifted No. 12 Alabama to a 4-2 victory against No. 8 LSU on Sunday before a sellout crowd of 3,940 at Rhoads Stadium. 


The victory helped Alabama (35-7, 10-5) win the three-game weekend series. 


Runyon's two-run double in the bottom of the fifth broke a 2-2 tie. It gave her six RBIs in the last five games. She has had at least one hit in four of those games. 


"I felt like Runyon was going to get a hit," Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. "I was going to bunt her, but we called a timeout and I told her I had a good feeling about her. It was a really good at-bat, and she has shown signs of breaking out over the last couple of games." 


Alabama took the first lead of the day in the bottom of second on an RBI single by Gabby Callaway before LSU (32-9, 8-4 SEC) pulled ahead 2-1 in the next inning. A fourth-inning RBI single by Sydney Booker tied the game at 2-2 before Runyon's fifth-inning double put the Crimson Tide on top by two. 


Six players had hits for Alabama, led by Elissa Brown's 2-for-3 day. 


Alexis Osorio (18-4) earned the complete-game victory, holding the Tigers to one earned run on five hits and four walks. 


After a single and a stolen base put Regan Dykes in scoring position in the bottom of the second, Callaway battled through a 10-pitch at-bat before dropping an RBI single into right field to give Alabama the early 1-0 lead. In the top of the third, a single and two walks loaded the bases for LSU with one out before a passed ball moved everyone up a base and tied the game at 1-1. A squeeze bunt added another run before a strikeout ended the inning with the Tigers now on top 2-1. 


An error in the bottom of the fourth allowed the potential tying run to reach base safely for Alabama and a sacrifice bunt moved her to scoring position. After a fly ball went for out number two, Booker laced a single to left as pinch-runner Rachel Bobo slid in safely at home ahead of the tag to tie the game at 2-2. 


Alabama led off the bottom of the fifth with back-to-back singles by Chandler Dare and Brown to set up Runyon for a big two-run double into the gap in left-center, putting the Tide ahead 4-2. A scoreless sixth inning for both teams kept it a two-run game heading to the top of the seventh. The first two LSU batters grounded out before a single to deep short and an errant throw moved a runner into scoring position for the Tigers. An intentional walk to Sahvanna Jaquish put two on base but a popup would end the game as Alabama won, 4-2, to clinch the weekend series. 


Alabama will play host to Alabama-Birmingham at 6 p.m. Tuesday. 


n Southern Mississippi loses to North Texas: At Denton, Texas, the Southern Mississippi softball team lost to North Texas 9-6 on Sunday in the final game of its three-game Conference USA weekend series. 


The loss dropped Southern Miss to 20-21 and 5-10 in C-USA, while North Texas improved to 21-17 and 8-7. 


Chase Nelson led Southern Miss by going 3-for-3 with a double. Samantha Reynolds, Lauren Holifield, and Samantha Papp all registered multiple hits in the finale. Caitlyn Aldous and Arielle Pollock also had hits. 


Samantha Robles got the start and pitched five complete innings allowing six runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts. Kim Crowson came in relief, pitching 1/3 innings and was charged for the loss. Crowson allowed three runs on two hits prior to Jade Lewis moving into the circle. Lewis pitched 2/3 innings allowing no runs on no hits.  


Southern Miss will take on Jackson State at 5 p.m. Tuesday. 


n Former New Hope High standout Sanders leads Louisiana-Lafayette: At Lafayette, Louisiana, Former New Hope High School standout DJ Sanders continued to lead the nation in home runs with her 19th of the season Sunday in the No. 16 Louisiana-Lafayette's 11-0 victory against Troy in a Sun Belt Conference game. 


Sanders scored two runs and had an RBI to help the Ragin' Cajuns (29-15, 12-0 Sun Belt) sweep the series. 


Sanders is second on the team with a .390 batting average. She leads the team in runs (43), double (nine), RBIs (46), and total bases (107) and is tied for the team lead in hits (41). 


Junior Colleges 


n EMCC splits doubleheader at Hinds: At Raymond, A four-run seventh inning in the second game enabled East Mississippi Community College to earn an 8-7 victory against Hinds C.C. on Saturday to earn a doubleheader split. 


The Lions lost 5-3 in the opening game at Rene Warren Field. 


Trailing 7-4 heading to the final frame of the second game, a leadoff double by Treasure Lynch and a single by Mallory Vance set the stage for EMCC's victory. Averi Pender, who had a triple earlier in the game and a double in the opener, belted her team-leading fifth home run of the year to tie the game. Kendall Wilkinson followed with a one-out double off Cecilia Akin that brought starting Hinds pitcher Amberlee Nix back into the game. Two batters later, Danielle Darmohray's two-out grounder was mishandled in the infield to allow pinch-runner Rebekah Williams to race home with the go-ahead run. 


In the home half of the seventh, EMCC left-hander Madison Jacques recorded the opening out with a fly ball to center before giving way in the circle to freshman right-hander AG Stewart. Following a one-out single by Madison Leggett, Stewart got Lizzy Lloyd to ground out and then struck out pinch-hitter Nava Fisher to preserve the split. 


Kaitlyn Brannon led the way with three singles in four at-bats, while Vance, Pender, Wilkinson, and Lynch had two hits. 


EMCC (17-18, Lions, 14-6 Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges) will play host to No. 14 Itawamba C.C. at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the EMCC Softball Field.



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