STARKVILLE, Miss. - Ending games early has become a theme the last week for Mississippi State softball, as the Bulldogs (13-5) run-ruled two more teams Saturday at the Bulldog Classic to break the school record for consecutive run-rule victories (5). The Maroon and White defeated Columbia by a 12-4 score in six innings to start the day, and followed up its 12th victory of the season with an 8-0 five-inning shutout over Eastern Illinois.
"Our offense had a pretty good day today and we were able to use most of our pitchers," head coach Vann Stuedeman said. "That's why we have a great staff. It was a great day for Bulldog softball and we want to thank everybody for coming out and supporting us."
The Bulldogs run-ruled opponents for the fourth and fifth-straight games thanks in part to junior left fielder Jessica Cooley, who finished Saturday with six RBIs, five hits, three runs and two home runs. Senior designated player Brittany Bell continued her tear at the dish, going a combined 4-for-6 with four RBIs, three runs and a home run. Also having big days were senior catcher Ka'ili Smith and sophomore center fielder Jessica Offutt. Smith tallied four hits, four runs, three RBIs and a home run, while Offutt totaled three hits, two RBIs and two runs.
Redshirt senior pitcher Misty Flesher picked up her second win vs. Columbia in as many days, earning the decision after hurling 2.2 innings to close out the win against the Lions. The righty gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits and struck out one. In game two, junior left-hander Stephanie Becker bettered her record to 6-1, pitching her third complete-game shutout of the season. The southpaw struck out seven Louisiana Tech batters, walked none and surrendered just three hits in the triumph.
The Bulldogs wrap up the Bulldog Classic with a 3 p.m. first pitch Sunday against Samford in a rematch of MSU's 6-3 win on Valentine's Day.
For more information regarding the Bulldog Classic, visit the official event page at HailState.com, follow the team on Twitter at @MStateSB and like the team at Facebook.com/MStateSB.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Following Friday's full day of severe thunderstorms, the 14th-ranked Mississippi State men's tennis squad (10-2, 1-0 SEC) downed No. 46 Alabama (5-5, 0-1 SEC) 6-1 in a hard-fought contest on Saturday.
Beginning in doubles action, the match became an immediate battle.
In the top spot for the Dogs was the 23rd-ranked tandem of Louis Cant and Malte Stropp, who quickly took an 8-0 blanking from Alabama's Jarryd Botha and David Vieyra. However, the other two courts were a different story.
On court 3 for MSU were James Chaudry and Ethan Wilkinson. Falling behind 5-2, the duo battled back to 5-4 but Bama would hold serve the remainder of the match as the duo of Vikram Reddy and Carlos Toborga would take the match 8-6 on 3.
The doubles clinching point came in the No. 2 position where MSU's duo of George Coupland and Artem Ilyushin battled Rickey Doverspike and Michael Thompson of Alabama. As both teams held serve, the match went to a tiebreaker. In the breaker, the Tide took an early 3-0 lead, and would never lose it as they took the match and clinch the doubles point for UA 9-8(5).
In singles play, the Bulldogs roared back.
The 41st-ranked Coupland, now on a seven-match win streak, evened the match for the Dogs as he took a 6-1, 6-1 decision from Alabama's Vieyra at No. 5. Quickly following, MSU's 27th-ranked Ilyushin earned his fourth win in a row as he took down the Crimson Tide's Botha 6-3, 6-3 at the top spot giving the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.
Following those early two points, three of the remaining four matches went to third sets and the fourth was a tight affair as well.That fourth one came in the No. 6 spot for MSU where Zach White battled to a tough 7-5, 7-5 victory over Alabama's Michael Thompson for a 3-1 State lead. White is now on a four-match win streak.
On courts 2 and 3 were Chaudry and 75th-ranked Stropp for the Bulldogs. With Chaudry taking the first set 6-3, his Alabama foe Doverspike took the second 6-4 sending the match to a third set. As Chaudry had the 5-2 advantage and serving with match-point, a tough call was made against Chaudry to send the game to deuce, allowing the match-clincher to come from Stropp on court 3.
Stropp took an easy 6-1 first set but dropped the second 6-4 to Alabama's Reddy. However, Stropp again took an easy third set 6-1, clinching the match for MSU with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 decision. Soon after, Chaudry finalized a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 decision on #2, extending the MSU lead to 5-1.
In the final match of the day, State's Cant had taken the match to 6-7, 6-2, 1-0 when his 115th-ranked Tide foe Daniil Proskura retired in the third set, resulting in a final score of 6-1 in favor of the Bulldogs.
State will now host #12 Auburn Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Pitts Tennis Centre.