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No. 5 Florida sweeps No. 19 Mississippi State

 

Mississippi State catcher Mia Davidson hit a home run Friday in No. 19 MSU’s loss to No. 5 Florida in Game 1 of their three-game weekend series. The Gators swept a doubleheader Saturday.

Mississippi State catcher Mia Davidson hit a home run Friday in No. 19 MSU’s loss to No. 5 Florida in Game 1 of their three-game weekend series. The Gators swept a doubleheader Saturday. Photo by: MSU Athletic Media Relations

 

From Special Reports

 

 

STARKVILLE -- The No. 5 Florida softball team used a 6-2 victory in Game 2 and a 3-0 win in Game 3 to sweep their Southeastern Conference series from No. 19 Mississippi State. 

 

Florida improved to 41-7 and 15-3 in the SEC, while MSU slipped to 33-15 and 6-12. 

 

In the first game of the day, the teams were tied at 1 in the top of the fourth inning until Amanda Lorenz slugged grand slam. 

 

In the series finale, MSU senior Holly Ward took a no-hitter into the seventh, but Florida rallied. 

 

Junior Kat Moore went 3-for-4 to lead the Bulldogs. Junior Sarai Niu drove in a team-high two RBIs in the doubleheader. 

 

After trading a scoreless first, Florida scored the first run of Saturday's doubleheader with a Janell Wheaton home run in the top of the second. The Bulldogs would answer in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with single by redshirt junior Bevia Robinson, a double from Moore, and an intentional walk to freshman Mia Davidson. Niu would lock the game up with a ground out to first base. 

 

The Gators took advantage of an error and loaded the bases with back-to-back singles before Lorenz plated four unearned runs with a grand slam to right center. The Gators would add a run in the top of the sixth with an RBI double. 

 

MSU tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh, leading off the inning with back-to-back singles by Robinson and Moore. A Florida error allowed both runners to move into scoring position before Niu brought in the second run of the game with a ground out to second. The Gators made the final out at first on a ground ball to take the game and clinch the series. 

 

Senior Cassady Knudsen tossed the complete game to open the doubleheader. She allowed two earned runs and eight hits. She walked six and struck out five. 

 

The series finale featured a pitching duel between Ward and Kelly Barnhill. The duo combined to allow five hits. 

 

Ward held the Gators scoreless until the top of the third when an error on a field pickoff attempt brought home an unearned run. Ward then retired 12 consecutive Gators, to take a no-hitter into the seventh and keep the Bulldogs in the game. 

 

The Gators led off the seventh with a fielding error before knocking their first hit of the game, an RBI double to right field. Florida would add its final run of the game off a sacrifice fly. Senior Reggie Harrison's one-out single in the seventh would be all MSU could string together as the Gators swept the series. 

 

A record crowd of 1,562 packed Nusz Park for Game 1. It was the third-largest crowd in program history. The crowd was the largest since April 16, 2016 when the Bulldog faithful set the program record with 1,612 fans versus LSU. 

 

n On Friday, Moore and Mia Davidson hit home runs, but No. 19 MSU lost to No. 5 Florida 8-3 in Game 1 at Nusz Park. 

 

The home runs were the only hits the Bulldogs had off Barnhill, who pitched a complete game and struck out 10. 

 

Making her first start in conference play, sophomore Candace Denis tossed the complete game, allowing eight runs off 10 hits and four walks. Denis struck out a career-high six. 

 

The Gators struck early with two home runs in the top first to take a 3-0 lead. Moore sliced the lead to 3-1 with a solo home run in the top of the second, but Florida answered in the top of the third, taking advantage of an error to plate two unearned runs. 

 

Florida added to its lead with a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth before taking an 8-1 advantage in the sixth with an RBI triple and a second sacrifice fly of the game. 

 

The Bulldogs rallied in the bottom of the sixth, as junior Emily Heimberger got on base with a hit by pitch before Davidson slugged her 16th home run of the season to slice the lead to 8-3. 

 

Freshman pinch hitter Carter Spexarth drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh, but the Bulldogs could not rally. 

 

Davidson hit her 16h home run and is one away from tying Courtney Bures for the MSU freshman record and two from tying Iyhia McMichael for the MSU single-season record. 

 

 

 

Ole Miss beats UTEP 

 

EL PASO, Texas -- Elantra Cox, Dylinn Stancil, Brittany Finney, and Autumn Gillespie had multiple hits Friday as Ole Miss built a big lead and hung on for an 8-4 victory at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. 

 

Kaitlin Lee allowed one run and six hits in five innings. She stranded eight runners on base. Anna Borgen relieved Ava Tillmann and recorded the final out for her first save. 

 

Cox was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs, and a run scored. 

 

Finney was 2-for-3 with a double and a home run. 

 

UTEP made things interesting in the seventh, scoring three runs and bringing the tying run to the plate with the bases loaded but Borgen recorded the final out. 

 

 

 

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