'Dogs Sweep the Rebels

STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State softball team (26-19, 8-8 SEC) erupted for eight runs on 13 hits to rally behind a pair of outstanding pitching performances as the Bulldogs routed visiting Mississippi (23-15, 5-9), 8-1, to complete a doubleheader sweep of the Rebels Wednesday evening at the Mississippi State Softball Field.

Four different players recorded multi-hit performances to pace the 'Dogs offensively, with Kate Jaspers adding a pair of RBIs on a 1-for-3 showing at the plate. DeDe Justice collected two of the Rebels' five hits on the night on a 2-for-3 tally.

Starter Kasey Whitehead (16-8) made two appearances in the contest, striking out two and allowing just one run in four innings of work, to earn the victory for the Bulldogs. Wilkerson also made two appearances in the game, striking out two while allowing just one hit, to get the save for the Maroon and White. Mississippi starter Lindsay Price (5-6) allowed seven runs on 11 Mississippi State hits in just four and two-thirds innings of work to take the loss for the Rebels.

The win pushed Mississippi State to the .500 mark in SEC play for the first time this season and also marked the first conference doubleheader sweep for the Bulldogs. The victory was Whitehead's sixth consecutive and Wilkerson's save pushed her national lead to 11 on the campaign.

State wasted no time lighting up the leftfield scoreboard, using a costly two-out error by the Rebels and a stolen base by Iyhia McMichael to set the table for Krystal Tillman, who laced an RBI single to plate McMichael with the 1-0 lead. Mississippi tied the game back up on Jessica Hamilton's RBI groundout in the top half of the second, but State took the lead for good in the bottom of the frame on Whitehead's double to the warning track in left center that plated Brooke Best from first base.

The Maroon and White added another run in the third on McMichael's RBI single down the rightfield line, then plated four runs on five hits in the fifth inning, highlighted by Jaspers' two-run single to centerfield that blew the game wide open.Kellie Wilkerson's RBI double down the rightfield line in the sixth plated Jennifer Jessup with the final run of the game.

In the opener of the twinbill, Justice's costly throwing error in the fifth inning allowed Quitman native Amy Mosley to cross the plate with an unearned run as Mississippi State slipped past the Rebels in a pitching duel, 1-0.

Three different players recorded base hits for the Bulldogs, with Lindsay Nelson reaching base twice on a pair of walks. Andrea Brahs (1-for-2) reached base on a single and a walk to highlight the Rebel hitting.

Whitehead struck out two and allowed just a pair of hits over six scoreless innings to earn the victory for the Bulldogs, with Wilkerson working a scoreless seventh to nab the save. Rebel starter Leslie Day (9-5) took the tough-luck loss with the unearned run in the fifth, but struck out six and allowed three hits.

Lindsay Nelson reached base on a leadoff walk in the fifth, before Mosley hit into a fielder's choice to record the first out of the frame. Day got Whitehead on a swinging strikeout, but Jessup tagged an 0-1 offering with the next at-bat down the rightfield line to move the runner. Justice's throwing attempt to gun down Mosley running to third bounced under the glove of third baseman Nicole Alger and into the dugout, allowing Mosley to skip home from third.

The Bulldogs and the Rebels will close out their three-game set Thursday afternoon when both teams return to the Mississippi State Softball Field for a 5 p.m. single game. The series finale can be followed via a live stats link on http://www.MStateAthletics.com, or by a live radio broadcast on WFCA FM 107.9. The broadcast can be heard live over the world wide web at http://www.wfcafm108.com.

GAME 1 - Mississippi State 1, Mississippi 0
Mississippi 000 000 0 - 0 2 1
Mississippi State 000 010 x - 1 3 0
Day and Manley; Whitehead, Wilkerson (7) and Mosley. W - Whitehead (15-8). L - Day (9-5). Save - Wilkerson (9).

GAME 2 - Mississippi State 8, Mississippi 1
Mississippi 010 000 0 - 1 5 1
Mississippi State 111 041 x - 8 13 2
Price, Day (5) and Manley; Whitehead (1,3), Wilkerson (2,6) and Brown. W - Whitehead (16-8). L - Price (5-6). Save - Wilkerson (11). 2B, MSU - Wilkerson 2; Best; Whitehead. SH, MSU - J. Nelson.

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