GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Kim Waleszonia's double with two-outs in the ninth inning gave No. 20 Florida a 3-2, comeback victory over Mississippi State at the Florida Softball Field.
Lacy Howard led off the ninth with a base hit to center field, and advanced to second on Brooks' sacrifice bunt. Kristina Hilberth then hit a shot to short that Courtney Bures snagged for the second out, bringing up Waleszonia.
With one out, Courtney Bures walked. Katie Cooley grounded out, advancing Bures to second. Sammie Jo Bailey then hit a 3-2 pitch just inside the right field line, scoring Bures with the game's first run. Bailey, Katie Johnson and Jessie Bailey then singled to load the bases, but Blair Hewett forced Jessie Bailey at second to end the inning.
But, UF came alive in the seventh. With one out, Mary Ratliff singled. Pinch-hitter Ashley Harris then stole second and advanced to third on Blair Hewett's overthrow. Francesca Enea then tied the game with a single to center field. Lacy Howard walked, and Corrie Brooks was intentionally walked to load the bases and setup a force play and any base. Kristina Hilberth grounded to third, forcing Brooke Johnson at home, and Kim Waleszonia flied out to right, stranding the bases loaded and sending the game into extra innings.
MSU regained the lead in the eighth. Nakita Boyce led off with a single to right field, and Bramlett reached on a bunt single. Guess then advanced the runners with a ground out, and Bures was intentionally walked. After Cooley struck out looking, Sammie Jo Bailey hit a ground ball to third base. But, Melissa Zick couldn't handle the grounder, allowing Bailey to reach and Boyce to come home with the go-ahead run. Katie Johnson then grounded to the pitcher, leaving the bases loaded.
But, once again, Florida came back. Lauren Roussell led off the inning, hitting the first pitch over the center field wall. Two batters later, Zick singled to right, and stole second. But, Kelsey Nurnberg struck out Ratliff, and Savana Kelly flied to center, ending the inning.
In the top of the first, Chelsea Bramlett and Hayle Guess grounded out. Courtney Bures then continued her hot hitting with a single to center field. But, Bures was thrown out trying to steal second, ending her consecutive stolen base streak at 18 dating back to last year.
With one out in the bottom of the second, Mary Ratliff drew a four-pitch walk. But, Francesca Enea grounded into a double play, ending the inning.
In the third, Jessie Bailey grounded out to short, and Blair Hewett struck out. Nakita Boyce then reached on a bunt single, and stole second. But, Bramlett grounded to second, ending the inning.
An inning later, after Guess flew out to right field, Bures drew a walk. But, Katie Cooley lined to second, and Bures was doubled up to end the inning.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Lauren Roussell walked. But, MSU returned the favor, as Ali Gardiner lined out to Bures, who threw to Sammie Jo Bailey to pick off Roussell.
In the bottom of the fifth, Melissa Zick singled to third, ending Kelli Miller's no-hit bid. After Ratliff and Enea both reached on a fielder's choice, pinch-runner Brooke Johnson stole second, and took third when Hewett's throw got away from Bramlett. However, Lacy Howard struck out, stranding Johnson at third.
In the sixth, after Corrie Brooks struck out, Kristina Hilberth singled up the middle. Two batters later, Roussell walked. But Gardiner grounded to third, and the game continued with no score.
Mississippi State will close out the regular season next weekend, May 4-5, when they host Arkansas.
Track & Field
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Mississippi State's 4x400-meter relay team finished fifth in the Championship of America relay event at the prestigious Penn Relays on Saturday at Franklin Field.
The relay squad turned in a time of three minutes, 9.06 seconds in the event that featured Southeastern Conference foes LSU, Kentucky and South Carolina. The senior foursome includes Bruce Davis, Nathan Daniels, Arthur Davis and Ezra Jones. In the 4x800-meter relay event at the Penn Relays, MState placed seventh with a time of 7:25.46. Competing for the Bulldogs were Jonathan Rono, Golden Coachman, Daniels and Chris Woods.
"It was a good meet at a special meet like the Penn Relays," said MSU head coach Al Schmidt. "We didn't finish the way we wanted to, but it wasn't a bad finish."
On the women's side, State senior distance standout Jennifer McPherson participated in the Olympic development mile run on Saturday. She clocked a time of 4:43.61 to finish 12th in the event, but was the fifth collegiate competitor to cross the line.
MSU's track and field squad will turn its attention to spring semester finals on the campus this week before returning to competition at the 2007 SEC Track and Field Championships, beginning on Thursday, May 10 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.