Mississippi State starter Melissa Massey (2-3) scattered five hits and struck out five over five and two-thirds innings of work, but surrendered a pair of earned runs on a home run in the first to take the loss. Serena Settlemier (3-2) allowed nine hits while striking out six, but got help from a strong wind from leftfield to escape with a victory in the circle.
The Bulldogs wasted little time posing a scoring threat, using consecutive singles and two stolen bases to put a pair of runners in scoring position with no outs in the first. However, Settlemier calmed down and struck out the next three batters to effectively nix the scoring threat moments later.
Massey delivered a leadoff walk on six pitches to begin the bottom of the frame, then could only watch as Kansas moved the runner into scoring position on a sac bunt by Lindsey Weinstein. Christi Musser gave the Jayhawks a 2-0 lead one batter later on a homer to the gap in right-centerfield.
The Jayhawks used a one-out single and a wild pitch by Massey to move a runner to third base with two outs in the second, then utilized a walk to put runners on the corners. On a double steal attempt by Kansas in the next at-bat, Waterman's throw left her hands off target and went off the glove of Best at second, allowing Megan Urquhart to stroll home from third to give Kansas a 3-0 lead.
Kansas used an error and a base hit in its first two at bats to put runners on the corners in the third, then conjured up a semi-successful double steal attempt with Waterman getting the runner going to second but failing to field the throw on the runner coming home. The Jayhawks took a 4-0 lead into the fourth inning.
Mississippi State lit up the scoreboard in the fifth for the first time in 18 innings, using a one-out hit by Wilkerson and a towering two-run dinger by McMichael to straight-away centerfield with the wind blowing in from leftfield. State mounted a two-out rally in the seventh, using two consecutive hits to plate Wilkerson (hit by pitch) from first base, but the threat was ended when Blaire Brown's hard hit to left field was held up by the wind and was collected by Musser at the warning track.
Kansas 4, #22 Mississippi State 3
Mississippi State 000 020 1 - 3 9 4
Kansas 211 000 0 - 4 5 0
Massey, Wilkerson (6) and Waterman; Settlemier and Campbell, May (6). W - Settlemier (3-2). L - Massey (2-3). Save - None. HR - Kansas: C. Musser, Miss. State: McMichael (3).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The 22nd-ranked Mississippi State Softball team (13-7) brought a run across the plate in the first and fourth innings and rallied behind a four-hit combined shutout to blank 18th-ranked Florida State (16-7) in the finale of the Florida State Sunshine Classic.
Jennifer Nelson turned in a 3-for-4 day at the plate to pace the State hitters, with Brooke Best (1-for-3) adding a pair of RBIs on an RBI double in the fourth. Jessica Van der Linden, who also started in the circle for the Seminoles, collected two of FSU's three hits on a 2-for-3 day at the plate.
MSU starter Kasey Whitehead (7-4) surrendered two hits and struck out two over five innings of work to pick up the victory for the Bulldogs, with Kellie Wilkerson striking out four over the last two innings of the contest to pick up her fifth save of the campaign. The save was the 23rd of Wilkerson's career and moved the senior to within one of matching the NCAA career record. Van Der Linden (6-2) surrendered just one earned run and struck out six in nabbing the loss for the Seminoles.
State wasted no time in lighting up the centerfield scoreboard, using a hit and a throwing error by the Seminoles to move a pair of runners into scoring position with just one out showing. Brown's sacrifice fly to right field plated Jennifer Nelson with the 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs pushed their lead to 2-0 in the fifth, getting a hit and a fielder's choice from its first two batters, then getting a runner into scoring position on a stolen base by Jessup. Best's RBI double off centerfielder Shandra Colize's glove plated Jessup from second base with the 2-0 lead for the visitors.
Mississippi State will return to action this weekend when the Bulldogs travel to Plant City, Fla., for the 24-team Speedline Invitational, hosted by the University of South Florida. The Bulldogs will open up their portion of round-robin pool play on Thursday, taking on #20 Florida Atlantic at 10 a.m. CT and Central Michigan in a 3 p.m. contest.
#22 Mississippi State 2, #18 Florida State 0
Mississippi State 100 100 0 - 2 5 0
Florida State 000 000 0 - 0 4 1
Whitehead, Wilkerson (6) and Brown; Van der Linden and Jordan. W - Whitehead (7-4). L - Van der Linden (6-2). Save - Wilkerson (5). 2B - MSU: Best.