Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Mississippi State softball earned another sweep Saturday

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Down 5-3 in the bottom of the 12th, the Mississippi State Bulldogs needed a rally to stay in the game. Enter Reggie Harrison and Caroline Seitz. After a two-run homer from Samford in the top half of the inning, Harrison launched a two-run jack to center to tie the game up at 5-5. Two batters later, Seitz sent a monster solo shot over the scoreboard in left to send MSU (17-3) to a 6-5 walk-off victory against Samford (5-14) on Saturday night at Nusz Park.

With the walk-off victory against Samford and a 2-1 win against Central Arkansas (6-12) in MSU's first game of the day, State will move on to face Central Arkansas in the Bulldog Slamboree Championship game. First pitch for the contest is set for 1:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, March 5.
 
"It feels great," MSU coach Vann Stuedeman said. "I'm so excited for Reggie Harrison and Caroline Seitz coming through there in the bottom of the 12th. Hopefully that will propel us. We've come from behind, we've been ahead and stayed ahead, we've played in extra innings, won in extra innings. It's great to have that experience going into conference play. It's great to have had that situation and we know we can handle all of it."
 
The Bulldogs struck first in game one, as Olivia Golden tallied an RBI single to score Bevia Robinson, putting State up 1-0 against Central Arkansas. UCA responded the next inning, blasting a solo home run to left field to tie things up at 1-1.
 
UCA's lead wouldn't last long, as the Dogs turned on the pressure in the next inning. With two on, Emily Heimberger reached on a fielder's choice and scored Seitz, giving MSU a 2-1 lead.
 
From there, starter Regan Green and Alexis Silkwood would team up to shut down the Bears for the rest of the game. Green tossed 5.0 innings of work, striking out eight and only allowing one run on two hits to move to 3-0 on year. Silkwood threw 2.0 scoreless innings and struck out four to pick up her fourth save of the year.
 
Part two of State's doubleheader would provide much more drama, as MSU would compete in its second 12-inning game of the year (Feb. 12 vs. Georgia State).
 
Samford opened with a RBI single in the third to go up 1-0 and would hold the lead heading into the seventh. The Dogs would put two runners on, setting up a Kat Moore double to left that would bring home Katie Anne Bailey and tie the game at 1-1.
 
Both teams remained scoreless until the 10th, when the international tiebreaker rules kicked in, placing a runner at 2nd at the beginning of every half inning. Samford would single to bring home a runner and take a 2-1 lead. However, MSU answered back thanks to a Caroline Seitz double to left, scoring Moore. The potential winning run in Harrison rounded third and headed home, but was tagged out at the plate just in time.
 
Both sides traded runs in the 11th, moving the score to 3-3. State looked poised to take control in the top of the 12th, as they forced two quick outs. However, with a runner on, the visiting Bulldogs blasted a two-run homer to left and took a 5-2 lead.
 
State would need two to keep the game alive in the bottom half of the 12th and Harrison did just that. The junior blasted a rocket over the wall in center, scoring two runs and tying the game up at 5-5. Two batters later, Seitz would seal the deal.
 
On an 0-1 pitch, Seitz would blast a no-doubter over the scoreboard in left field, ending the game with a 6-5 victory in walk-off fashion.
 
"It's just great," Seitz said. "Silkwood threw her heart out. Everyone played their heart out. I had chills running around the bases and I could not wait until I got back to my teammates to celebrate."
 
"I just thought about all of us knowing we could do the same thing," said Harrison on the game's 12th inning. "I knew what I wanted to hit, I just trusted myself and my coaches, my teammates, everything."
 
Silkwood pitched all 12.0 innings of the second game, striking out seven and walking just three batters. She moved to 9-0 on the year, matching the best start to a season in her career (9-0, 2015).
 
Four total Bulldogs had multi-hit games on Saturday, while two turned in multi-RBI performances. For the whole day, Calyn Adams, Seitz and Robinson each tallied three hits, with each of their two-hit showings coming against Samford. Seitz and Harrison each turned two RBI in the winner against SU.
 
After Sunday's championship contest, State will close its seven-game home stand with a Tuesday night game against Troy. The 6:30 p.m. CT contest will be broadcast nationally on the SEC Network, its first national softball broadcast of the 2017 season.
 


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