STARKVILLE, Miss. - Courtney Nesbit went 5-for-6 and Jessie Spain hit her first career home run as No. 21 Mississippi State dropped an SEC doubleheader to No. 8 LSU 5-2 and 2-1 Wednesday afternoon at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, La.
State drops to 26-11 on the season and 4-7 in conference play while LSU (29-4) remains unbeaten in SEC action with an 8-0 mark.
Senior Courtney Bures went 4-for-6 in the two games to extend her hit streak to nine games. Fellow senior Nakita Boyce went 2-for-2 in the nightcap after drawing two walks in her three at-bats in the opener.
"I was pleased with the way we swung the bats at times, but we didn't swing well at times when we needed to," Miller said. "It was one of those games where it seemed everything we tried didn't work. Elizabeth (Woolven) pitched well in the second game and Kelsey pitched well in the second game. It was frustrating that we didn't get the job done."
After not being able to capitalize in the opening inning of the opener of the twin bill, State plated a run in the first inning of the nightcap to take an early 1-0 lead. With two outs in the frame, Bures singled and scored on Sammie Jo Bailey's double to the gap in left-center.
LSU knotted the game 1-1 in the bottom of the third as Shannon Stein and Dee Dee Henderson singled to lead-off the frame. Both advanced into scoring position on a Jazz Jackson ground-out, and Stein scored on Rachel Mitchell's sacrifice fly to center field.
The Tigers took the lead in the fourth as Quinlon Duhon led off with a double to the gap in left-center. Pinch-runner Tiffany Shaw scored as Tayl'r Hollis hit a ground ball to the left side that Bures was unable to snag.
State tried to rally in the top of the seventh as Hayle Guess, Nesbit and Spain loaded the bases with no outs. Nakita Boyce then hit a line drive that Hollis snagged for a double play. Chelsea Bramlett walked to load the bases, but LSU starter Cody Trahan got Ali Bainbridge to ground-out to end the game.
Kelsey Nurnberg fell to 13-5 on the season as she allowed a pair of runs on six hits in the complete-game effort. Trahan improved to 10-1 on the year as she allowed a run on 11 hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
Spain hit her first career home run in the opener and drove in both of No. 21 Mississippi State's runs as the Bulldogs dropped the hard-fought opener.
Nesbit, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, continued to swing a hot bat for State, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Bures collected a pair of hits in four at-bats in the series opener.
The Bulldogs missed out on an opportunity to go ahead in the top of the first inning. Bramlett reached on a chopper to the shortstop and moved to second on an illegal pitch. Bainbridge advanced her to third with a sacrifice ground-out to the pitcher, but LSU starter Dani Hofer struck out Bures and Sammie Jo Bailey to work out of the jam.
Hofer improved to 16-2 on the season as she allowed the two runs on eight hits with 12 strikeouts in the complete-game effort.
The Tigers capitalized in the home half of the inning by plating a pair of runs to take a 2-0 lead. Henderson reached on a high bouncer, the first of her two hits in the contest, to lead off the frame, and she moved to second on Jackson's single up the middle. Mitchell's ground ball hit Jackson while running to second base for the first out.
Henderson and Mitchell moved into scoring position on a double steal, and Henderson scored on Killian Roessner's sacrifice fly ball to left field. Mitchell gave the Tigers the two-run lead with her hard-hit single to third base.
The Bulldogs cut the LSU lead in half in the top of the second as Nesbit continued her hot hitting with a double to the wall in left field. She scored on Spain's single up the middle to make it a 2-1 game.
LSU extended the lead back out to two with a run in the bottom of the second inning. Erika Sluss led off with a single through the right side and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After moving to third on a wild pitch, Sluss scored on Henderson's ground ball base hit to second base.
The Tigers extended the lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the third as Tayl'r Hollis scored Tiffany Shaw on an RBI single and Duhon scored on a two-out ground ball that was mishandled by MSU third baseman Jessie Bailey.
The pair of runs in the third inning chased MSU starter Misty Flesher, who fell to 10-6 on the year as she allowed five runs, four earned, on eight hits. Elizabeth Woolven gave the Bulldogs an opportunity to rally as she kept LSU off the scoreboard while allowing three hits and striking out four over the final three frames.
Mississippi State added another run in the top of the fifth to cut the LSU lead to 5-2 as Spain took a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left field. Nakita Boyce followed with a walk, and with two away, Bures singled to put runners at the corner and bring the tying run to the plate, but Hofer got a Sammie Jo Bailey strikeout to end the inning.
Back-to-back one-out singles and a two-out walk to Boyce loaded the bases for the Bulldogs in the top of the sixth, but State was unable to capitalize as Hofer got Bramlett to strike out to leave the tying run at first base.
State returns home this weekend, hosting Georgetown and Mississippi Valley State in the Bully Bash Saturday and Sunday as part of Mississippi State's Super Bulldog Weekend festivities. Games begin Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. MSU faces MVSU at 4 p.m. on Saturday and Georgetown at 6 p.m. The Bulldogs meet the Hoyas again at noon on Sunday before closing out the two-day tournament with the Delta Devilettes at 2 p.m.
Admission to all MSU home softball games is free of charge.