Tide Softball Falls To Bulldogs

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Alabama suffered just its second loss in conference play this season on Saturday, falling to Mississippi State on the road, 4-2, to even the weekend series.

Alabama (37-6, 15-2 SEC) was limited to a season-low two hits and a season-high 12 strikeouts, as Mississippi State (31-14, 4-10 SEC) starter Alison Owen (16-8) had the Crimson Tide offense off-balance the entire game. One of Alabama's runs came courtesy of a solo homer by Kaila Hunt, her 10th long ball of the year and the 56th of her career, putting her four shy of tying the career school record. Leslie Jury (13-4) took the loss, throwing 5 1/3 innings with four earned runs off seven hits and five walks.

The Bulldogs pushed its first runners into scoring position in the bottom of the third, as a single and a walk were followed by a sacrifice bunt to put runners at second and third with one away. Another sacrifice bunt allowed the runner at third to score but a popup ended the rally as Mississippi State took the first lead of the game, 1-0.

Hunt tied up the game in the top of the fourth with Alabama's first hit of the game, a solo home run to left field that made it a 1-1 ballgame. Mississippi State looked to retake the lead in the bottom-half, loading the bases with one out. Peyton Grantham got to a slap attempt quickly at third, getting a force-out at home for the second out and Kallie Case got the Tide out of the bases-loaded jam with a great diving catch in foul territory for the final out as the game remained tied at 1-1.

Alabama was looking to capitalize on some early mistakes in the top of the fifth, as they led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch and a fielding error to put two on with one out. A strikeout went for out number two but Kallie Case battled through a long at-bat to poke a single into left field, scoring Chandler Dare from second to give Alabama a 2-1 lead. A walk loaded the bases but a strikeout ended the rally as Alabama couldn't build on the one-run lead.

Mississippi State wasn't down for long, as they loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the fifth and Caroline Seitz gave the Bulldogs the lead with a single to the left-field wall, scoring two as the home team pulled ahead 3-2. A weak chopper to Jury in the circle went for out number two and Jury ended the rally with a strikeout as she kept it a one-run game.

A walk and a single started the home-half of the sixth inning and Jessica Offutt sacrificed the pair into scoring position, which ended Jury's outing in the circle as Sydney Littlejohn entered in relief. A popup in foul territory went for out number two but back-to-back walks brought another runner home as the Bulldogs improved its lead to 4-2. A 4-3 groundout ended the half-inning as Alabama headed to the top of the seventh trailing by two.

Owen made quick work of the Tide in the top of the seventh however, as Alabama was retired in order to suffer just its second loss in SEC play this season.

Sunday's series finale is set for a 1 p.m. CT start time and will be aired live on Fox SportSouth.

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