Bulldogs Win At Georgia State, 16-9

Senior Alison Owen contributed in the circle and at the plate got six runs batted in from freshman Katie Anne Bailey on Wednesday in an offensive outburst as the two led Mississippi State to a 16-9 victory against Georgia State at Bob Heck Field.

Bailey, making the first start of her career, hit a grand slam in the third inning for her first career home run and finished with six RBI, three runs scored, two hits and a walk. Owen recorded the first at-bat of her career and doubled, scored a run and drove in another. Senior Jessica Offutt chipped in, going two-for-two with two RBI, two walks and a run scored while freshman Caroline Seitz added two hits, three runs scored and two RBI. Mississippi State's 16 runs are the most since pushing across 19 against Charleston Southern on March 8, 2008.

In the circle, freshman Alexis Silkwood went the first two innings for Mississippi State, allowing six runs on five hits and one strikeout. Owen threw the remaining five innings, scattering six hits and three runs while striking out nine. Georgia State's Kaitlyn Medlam tossed the first three innings, yielding five runs, all unearned, on one hit and two walks. She fanned four. Eron Milton pitched the next inning-and-a-third, yielding four runs on five hits and two free passes with two strikeouts. Katie Worley threw the next two-thirds of an inning, allowing two runs on three hits and a strikeout. Taylor Thorpe finished the pitching effort, going two innings and giving up five runs on three hits, a walk and one hit by pitch.

In the bottom of the first inning, Georgia State had a chance to take a 1-0 lead, but a double play got the Bulldogs out of trouble. Taylor Anderson led off with a ground ball to third baseman Caroline Seitz, who threw high to first and the ball went into right field, allowing Anderson to move to third. After a groundout held Anderson at third, Lauren Coleman attempted a suicide squeeze. Seitz caught the bunt and threw back to sophomore shortstop Kayla Winkfield, who was covering third, to complete the double play.

Neither team had another scoring opportunity until the top of the third, when Mississippi State took a 5-0 lead, highlighted by the Bailey blast. Senior Sam Lenahan led off reaching on an error. After a strikeout, Offutt walked and senior Heidi Shape put down a bunt that Panther second baseman Kensey Caldwell couldn't catch. The ball went into right field, allowing Lenahan to score and Offutt advance to third. After a pop out, a walk to Seitz loaded the bases. On the first pitch to Bailey, she cleared the bases with a long ball to left center. A groundout ended the top of the inning.

Georgia State responded in the bottom of the frame with two home runs, including a grand slam, to go ahead 6-5. Mallory Koepke led off with a single, Ashley Christy was hit by the first pitch of her at-bat and Morgan Brown singled up the middle before Anderson hit a grand slam. MeQuilla Franklin followed with a single and Coleman hit a home run to center to make it a 6-5 GSU advantage. Owen entered for SIlkwood and struck out the next three batters to close the frame.

Owen helped herself in the top of the fourth as the Bulldogs took a 7-6 lead. Senior Logan Foulks led off with a single through the left side. After a strikeout, Owen doubled to right center to move Foulks to third. Offutt pushed a single up the middle that plated Foulks and moved Owen to third. Shape followed with a double to left that plated Owen for the one-run lead. A strikeout and groundout left the pair stranded.

MSU added to its lead in the top of the fifth with two runs for a 9-6 advantage. Bailey led off with a walk, moved to second and a sacrifice bunt and scored on a Foulks single to center field. Lenahan walked and, after a strikeout, Offutt singled to right to plate junior Ashley Phillips, who pinch ran for Foulks. A foul out ended the threat.

Georgia State got a run back in the bottom of the fifth to make it 9-7 as Anderson led off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single to right from Coleman.

The Bulldogs regained the cushion in the top of the sixth with five runs to go ahead 14-7. Junior Julia Echols led off with a single, Seitz doubled to left center and both came home on a Bailey single to left center for an 11-7 edge. Junior Katie Gentle singled to right and Foulks reached on a fielder's choice. A sacrifice fly from Lenahan made it a 12-7 advantage and a wild pitch brought in Gentle for a six-run lead. Owen drove in the final run of the frame with a groundout. Another groundout ended the frame.

Georgia State got a one-out solo home run from Koepke in the bottom of the sixth to make it 14-8.

MSU added its last runs in the top of the seventh with a Seitz two-run home run after Echols was hit by a pitch to open the frame.

Owen surrendered one more run in the bottom of the seventh on consecutive doubles by Mandy Blackwell and Coleman, but retired the next three batters she faced to seal the 16-9 win.

Mississippi State concludes the spring-break trip to Georgia at the University of Georgia this weekend for a three-game series. Friday's opener begins at 5 p.m. CT while Saturday starts at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon. Sunday's contest will be televised live by Fox Sports Networks and streamed on ESPN3.

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