Bulldogs Softball Team Down N.C. State

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Sophomore Katie Johnson's two-run triple in the bottom of the first inning gave Mississippi State a lead it would never relinquish as the Bulldogs got revenge for a season-opening loss to N.C. State on Friday with a 5-1 victory over the Wolfpack Saturday evening at the MSU Softball Field.

Just more than 24 hours after a 2-1 setback to the Wolfpack in MSU's tournament-opening contest, Saturday's nightcap of the Bulldog Round-Robin bore an eery turn of fortune for both teams. Although stranding 11 runners over the course of the contest, the Bulldogs (3-1) took advantage of clutch scoring chances presented to them and, like the Wolfpack (3-1) in the previous meeting, got a dominating performance from its starting pitcher.

MSU starter Kelli Miller (2-0), who threw the fifth no-hitter in school history on Friday evening against Louisiana Tech, looked near flawless again on Saturday, scattering six hits and striking out one over her second complete game in as many days. On the flipside, NCSU starter Shaina Ervin (1-1) was victimized from the get-go, and took the loss for the Pack after allowing four earned runs on seven hits and a quartet of walks.

Johnson finished the night with a pair of RBI on a 1-for-3 hitting line, with rookie Lindsay Hunley (3-for-3, BB) driving in a run and reaching base in all four trips to the plate. Senior Tanelda McDonald turned in a 2-for-4 night at the plate, while Amory native Keri McFarling added an RBI on a fielder's choice in the fourth. Lisa Nentwig (2-for-3) turned in N.C. State's only multi-hit tally of the night.

"We got some good production today up and down the lineup," said Mississippi State head coach Jay Miller. "The kids did a good job of coming out and swinging the bats and putting some runs on the board. The thing that I have been pleased with so far is we're not just getting a run and sitting on it. We had a tendency of doing that last year, but we're coming out this year and putting runs on the board and putting people away.

"Kelli was a little tired today after yesterday's game and her arm wasn't as strong. The key is winning ballgames when you're tired like that. She came out and just dominated a great team. That was a good sign for us."

MState got two of its first three batters aboard in the first before Johnson hammered a 1-2 offering from Ervin to the gap in leftfield to clear the basepaths and give MSU a quick 2-0 lead. The Bulldogs cushioned their lead with a pair of runs in the fourth on RBI knocks from McFarling and Hunley, before N.C. State utilized a throwing error by the Bulldogs to plate a run of its own in the top of the sixth. However, State pushed its lead back to four in its half of the inning, using a pair of base hits, as well as a Wolfpack fielding error, to plate an insurance score.

State will close out tournament play on Sunday afternoon with a 2 p.m. doubleheader that will begin with a matchup with Louisiana Tech who fell victim to a 9-0 mercy rule victory by the Maroon and White on Friday. The Bulldogs will battle Mississippi Valley State in the 4 p.m. game to close out the 2005 Bulldog Round-Robin. Admission to all games is free.

MISSISSIPPI STATE 5, N.C. STATE 1

N.C. State (3-1) 000 000 0 - 1 6 1
Mississippi State (3-1) 200 201 x - 5 10 2

NCSU - S. Ervin, Isley (6) and M. Ervin. MSU - Miller and Geddings. W - Miller (2-0). L - S. Ervin (1-1). Save - None.


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