Cooley's Double Sparks Bulldogs Past Alumni

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Katie Cooley's bases loaded double with two outs in the bottom of the third helped erase an early 2-0 deficit to a loaded alumni squad and the Maroon and White hit cruise control the rest of the way out to dispel of the alumni on a 4-3 victory Friday evening at the MSU Softball Field.

The game marked the first of its kind for the Mississippi State softball program as it welcomed back 13 alumni, including USA national team member Kellie Wilkerson and 2004 National Pro Fastpitch player of the year Iyhia McMichael, to the MSU campus.

"I thought it was a great event," said Mississippi State head coach Jay Miller. "It was a fun evening for our players as well as our alumni that came back. We had a good turnout with alumni as far back as 1981-82 and all eras in between. It was great for me to see all of the folks come back and it was great for the alumni to all get together and reminisce and share some old stories. For it being the first time we have had an alumni event, the game was well received."

The alumni squad took a quick lead, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the first when Jennifer Waterman (2001-04) doubled to drive in Wilkerson (1999-02) and Jennifer Nelson (2000-03). After a pitching change by the alumni squad, the Bulldogs chipped away and rallied to load the bases with two outs to set the table for Cooley's dramatic hit. The Birmingham, Ala., junior would later score on an error by the alumni squad to give her side a 4-2 lead heading into the fourth.

The alumni squad loaded the bases itself with one out in the top of the seventh, but State got some defensive help when Laura Leigh Reese picked off Lindsay Nelson (2001-04) at third base to record the inning's second out. Brandi Watkins (2004) singled in a run to cut the current squad's lead to just one, 4-3, but the Bulldogs would hold on moments later by recording the game's final out.

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