Georgia Pounds MSU, 11-2

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Third-seeded Georgia erupted for multi-runs in three different innings to rally behind the opportunistic pitching of rookie Katie Griffith and humble Mississippi State, 11-2, in a second round winners' bracket game Friday afternoon at the 2004 SEC Softball Tournament in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Four different Mississippi State (38-23) players recorded base hits in the game with senior Blaire Brown leading the way by driving in a run on a 1-for-3 hitting line. Iyhia McMichael singled and scored in the seventh inning to reach base safely for the 37th consecutive game, with Meagan O'Nan and and Callye Williams also providing base hits for the Bulldogs. Georgia (50-14) was paced offensively by a trio of multi-hit tallies, including Shannon McKeon who drove in two runs and scored once on a 2-for-4 day at the plate.

MSU starter Melissa Massey (17-9) allowed three earned runs on a pair of hits in just one-third of an inning of work to take the loss for State, with relievers Stephanie Comeaux and Sara Hickerson also seeing game action. Griffith (17-4) threw 75 pitches in just five innings of work, but got the complete game victory anyway despite allowing a pair of earned runs on four hits and a trio of free passes.

The loss ended a 10-game winning streak for State. Massey's loss was her first since an April 2 loss at Auburn, thereby snapping a personal eight-game winning streak for the junior from Fayetteville, Tenn.

Massey got into trouble immediately, allowing Georgia to load the bases with two consecutive one-out singles and a walk, then handed the Red and Black the game's first run by beaning Megan McAllister with the first offering of the at-bat. Comeaux did not fare much better, however, as her first offering was taken to leftfield by Courtney Knight, allowing Shannon McKeon to race home to give Georgia a 2-0 lead.

The Athens Bulldogs would stretch its lead out to three a couple of pitches later on Jade Jarvis' sac fly to centerfield, before State would finally close out the inning by getting Julie Milner on a fielder's choice groundout to shortstop Callye Williams.

Georgia would add three more runs in the second inning on an inside-the-park home run that went off the heel of leftfielder Hayle Guess's glove, before State would answer with a run of its own on Brown's fielder's choice RBI in the third. Georgia would add a plethora of insurance runs with a five-run fifth inning, but State would not go quietly, getting McMichael aboard via a leadoff single and following with a two-base sac hit and a RBI groundout from Waterman.

Mississippi State will resume play at the 2004 SEC Tournament on Saturday afternoon when the Bulldogs suit up to face fourth-seeded Auburn in a loser's bracket contest at 1:30 p.m. A Mississippi State victory against the Tigers would move the Bulldogs into a semifinal contest against Friday's LSU/Alabama winner at 7:30 p.m.

Georgia (50-14) 330 05 - 11 11 0
Mississippi State (38-23) 001 01 - 2 4 1
Griffith and McKeon. Massey, Comeaux (1), Hickerson (4) and Waterman. W - Griffith (17-4). L - Massey (17-9). Save - None. SF - UGA, Jarvis. HR - Godfrey. 2B - UGA, McKeon, Milner, Green.

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