STARKVILLE, Miss. - A Ka'ili Smith sixth-inning base hit rallied Mississippi State to a 2-1 win in game one, and freshman Briana Bell drove in a career-high four RBI as the Bulldogs won game two 11-5 and swept South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams Wednesday afternoon at the MSU Softball Field.
The Dawgs, winners of four-straight games, improved to 10-10 overall and 2-0 in SEC play. South Carolina fell to 13-7 and 0-2 to open the league slate.
"These two wins were really big for our ball club. We've been a little up and down this year, but Kylie came out and threw a great game to give us a chance, and we were able to scratch across a couple of runs for her at the end," MSU head coach Jay Miller said. "In the second game, the bats came alive and we put some runs on the scoreboard. I thought we should have finished them off earlier. We let them back in it in the fifth and made some defensive mistakes that we need to tighten up to help ourselves."
In Wednesday's opener, the Bulldogs rallied from a 1-0 deficit with a two-run sixth inning.
Smith plated the winning run with a one-out RBI single. Brittany Gates began the big inning with a lead-off triple that chased USC starter Audrey Broyles. The Houston, Miss., native plated the tying run on an illegal pitch by reliever Kierstyn White, who fell to 2-2 as she surrendered a run and two hits in the losing effort.
Senior Ali Bainbridge setup the winning run with a base hit through the left side of the infield. Freshman Heidi Shape moved her to second on a ground-out to first base, and Smith brought her home as she lined a shot into center field.
"She had been going in and out to me. I was trying to get a good pitch, and she threw a screwball out to me that I just went with," Smith said. "I knew it was the winning run, so I had to get her in somehow."
The rally capped another stellar showing for sophomore Kylie Vry (4-7). The Des Moines, Iowa, native picked up her second-straight victory as she went the distance and allowed three hits and one run (earned) while striking out three.
"I felt really good out there today," Vry said. "The team really backed me up, and we are pumped to win these two games. My teammates told me to just calm down and that they were going to get some runs. I put my trust in them and they came out and did a great job."
State's late offensive momentum carried over into game two as the Dawgs pounded out 11 runs on 12 hits.
The Gamecocks scored a run in the first off MSU starter Misty Flesher, but the Bulldogs fired right back to even the game in the bottom of the frame.
Bainbridge opened the inning with the first of two doubles in the game. She took third on a Shape sacrifice bunt and scored when Smith lined a single into left field.
The Dawgs broke the game open in the third and fourth, plating five runs in each frame to go ahead 11-1.
Bainbridge led off the frame with her team-leading eighth two-bagger of the season. Shape followed with a bunt single, and the pair moved into scoring position when the ball was thrown away by USC catcher P.J. Fulmer.
After Bainbridge was retired at the plate, Courtney Nesbit and Sam Lenahan drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Bell then came through with a single to right that scored Shape and Nesbit and put State ahead 3-1.
Senior Chelsea Raines and sophomore Jessica Cooley each followed with run-scoring hits to give State a 5-1 lead, and Shelby Fisher, the ninth hitter of the inning, capped the inning with a pinch-hit base hit up the middle.
Another double, this time by Shape, ignited the Dawgs' five-run fourth. The Georgia native took third on a wild pitch and scored along with pinch-runner Jessica Offutt on a Lenahan two-bagger down the line in right field.
Bell capped her stellar game as she delivered another two-run single that put MSU up 10-1. Cooley brought home the fifth run of the inning on a ground-out to short.
South Carolina tried to fight back with a four-run fourth. Samie Garcia, one of three Gamecocks with two hits in the game, delivered a two-run base hit that brought freshman hurler Shana Sherrod into the circle for MSU.
Sherrod worked two innings, allowing a run and three hits while striking out two in relief of starter Misty Flesher. Flesher (3-1) notched her second-straight victory as she allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits while striking out four over four innings.
Dana Hathorn plated USC's final two runs on an infield single and succeeding Bulldog error.
South Carolina opened the seventh with a single, but Vry came to the circle and retired three-straight to clinch the victory for MSU.
The Bulldogs step back out of conference this weekend, facing Florida State and North Carolina over four games as part of the Easton SEC/ACC Challenge in Tuscaloosa. State opens play against FSU Friday at 3 p.m. The Dawgs face the Tar Heels and Seminoles at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively, on Saturday before wrapping the weekend against UNC at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Mississippi State trailed UAB 4-3 in the sixth inning of a college baseball game Wednesday night when heavy rains hit at Young Memorial Field. The contest was suspended and will be resumed at a date to be determined.
The Bulldogs reached their first two base runners in the top half of the sixth inning. After about an hour rain delay, the tarp was finally pulled. A final passing shower started falling before field maintenance could be completed. Thus, the coaches decided to suspend with completion at a later date.
For MSU, it was their first road game of the 2011 season. MSU has actually won 16 straight series meetings against UAB. However, the series streak's extension was in jeopardy as the Blazers scored twice in the second and fifth innings.
In the second inning, UAB struck first when Ryan Ussery doubled, Michael Busby walked and Jacob German followed with a two-run double.
The Bulldogs grabbed a 3-2 lead, thanks to a three-run inning off only one base hit in the third inning. Two walks and a hit batsman loaded the bases. Jarrod Parks followed with a three-run double into the right field corner.
MSU starter Kendall Graveman was chased during UAB's two-run fifth inning. An RBI-single by Jamal Austin chased Graveman and tied the game 3-3. In relief, Andrew Busby was greeted by a go-ahead RBI-single by Patrick Palmeiro.
In the MSU sixth inning, Ryan Collins walked and Jonathan Ogden reached as a hit batsman before the rains hit.
The Bulldogs had only managed two hits off four UAB pitchers. Both of those hits belonged to Parks.
MSU returns home for a three-game weekend series with Sacred Heart. The Bulldogs and Pioneers play at 5 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Dudy Noble Field.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's soccer camps offer quality instruction for the beginner and advanced soccer player in a fun environment, and the 2011 slate promises more of the same with three different camps over June and July.
State's camp slate includes Youth Day Camps June 6-10 and July 25-29, the second annual Striker-Keeper Camp June 24-26 and the Girls College Prep Camp July 29-31.
Registration forms, camp schedules and additional information can be found online at www.mstateathletics.com/camps or by contacting MSU assistant coach Andy Manners at firstname.lastname@example.org or (662) 418-7694.
The Youth Day Camps will run 9 a.m.-noon for ages 4-7 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for ages 8-14. Cost for the 9 a.m.-noon camp is $109, while the day-long camp will be $219 per camper. The $219 cost includes lunch each day. Camp registration for both age groups includes an MSU camp t-shirt and a soccer ball.
The day camps, which will be held at the MSU Soccer Field, are designed to meet the needs of the youth soccer player in a safe and fun learning environment. During the week-long camps, campers will work on developing soccer fundamentals such as dribbling, turning, shooting, passing, shielding, running with the ball, heading and goalkeeping.
Mississippi State head coach Neil Macdonald, along with Manners, fellow assistant coach Myranda Hill and volunteer assistant coach Robbie Kroger, will be conducting the Striker-Keeper Camp for the second-straight year after stellar reviews in the camp's first year. The $129 camp, which is open to players ages 8-18, will focus on building the fundamental skills of beginner or experienced strikers and goalkeepers.
Strikers will work on dribbling to shoot, moving off the ball to create scoring opportunities, finishing, shooting and attacking headers. Goalkeepers will focus on shot handling, diving, defending crosses and breakaways, foot skills and distribution from Kroger, a 20-year veteran goalkeeper.
The Girls College Prep Camp will give each camper an insight as to what it's like to be an MSU student-athlete. Campers will be housed in the University's state-of-the-art Zacharias Village, and the focus of the camp will be further developing the technical and tactical skills of high school and club players ages 14-18. The camp, which costs $249, will feature training with the MSU coaching staff; question and answer sessions with the coaching, academic and strength and conditioning staffs; and games on the MSU Soccer Field.