COLUMBIA, S.C. - Mississippi State's Misty Flesher went the distance in the circle and Chelsea Bramlett went 3-for-3 and scored twice as the Bulldog softball team defeated South Carolina 3-1 Sunday afternoon in the rubber game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Beckham Field in Columbia, S.C.
The series win improved the Dawgs to 24-24 overall and 5-15 in SEC play. South Carolina fell to 11-33 overall, 1-21 in the conference.
"We needed to get the series win this weekend. A series win is huge, and if we can get that the rest of the way we can get back in the race and have a shot at the postseason," Mississippi State head coach Jay Miller said. "You don't like to say it was a must-win game, but it really was to an extent."
Brittany Bell sparked the Dawgs' offense as she hit her fourth home run of the year. Bramlett's three-hit afternoon was her ninth of the season and her 29th multiple-hit game.
A day after setting the school record for stolen bases in a season, Bramlett had her school-record consecutive steals streak halted at 63. She was, however, successful on her following two attempts to improve to 57-for-58 on the year.
Flesher tossed her seventh complete game of the season to improve to 11-8 on the year. The sophomore from Lone Grove, Okla., allowed a run and six hits with a strikeout and three walks.
"Misty came out and dominated from the first inning. She set the tone for us, and we gave her a few runs to help her out," Miller said. "They got a couple of doubles in the middle innings that could have helped them get back in the game, but she did a nice job of shutting the door."
Bell gave Flesher a lead she would not relinquish as she opened the second inning with a solo home run that hit the flagpole in left-center field.
MSU added another run in the top of the third as Chelsea Bramlett kicked off the frame with a single. She stole second before scoring on an Ali Bainbridge base hit up the middle.
The Dawgs manufactured another run in the top of the fifth to extend the lead to 3-0. Bramlett singled to lead off the inning. After taking second on a Bainbridge sacrifice bunt, she stole third and scored on a fly ball to right field by sophomore Ka'ili Smith.
"Chelsea has been hitting the ball well all year, and she did a great job getting us going," Miller said. "Ali has been struggling at the plate but drove in a big run for us. Brittany's home run got our offense going, and Ka'ili did a nice job driving in a run."
South Carolina got its lone run in the fifth on an Evan Childs single to left-center. USC could get no closer as Flesher retired six of the last eight batters she faced to clinch the series win.
The Bulldogs return to the road on Wednesday, traveling to Auburn for a Wednesday twinbill against the Tigers. First pitch for the SEC doubleheader is scheduled for 3 p.m.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala.- Mississippi State's Erika Thornton fired a spring-low 73 to finish the SEC Championship tied for 38th individually, also a spring best. The Lady Bulldogs completed play ranked 12th with a three-round team total of 925.
Junior Mallor Batson tied for 54th and finished nine strokes behind Thornton with a 233. Senior Gina Sharp trailed Batson by just two strokes and senior Leigh Phillips ranked fourth on the squad with a 236. Sophomore Perry Katherine Furr rounded out State golfers at 239.
7th-ranked host Alabama took team honors with a three-round total of 848, four strokes better than 24th-ranked Vanderbilt. 32nd-ranked Arkansas took third place with an 859, 16th-ranked Georgia took fourth and 3rd-ranked Auburn rounded out the tournament's top five. Vanderbilt's Marina Alex edged a one-stroke victory out of the individual competition with a 208 total.
Today complete's Christi Sanders' successful 23-year reign as Mississippi State's women's golf head coach. Named SEC Coach of the Year in 1990 and 2000, Sanders coached Carri Wood to her 1992 SEC Championship individual title and has coached 17 all-SEC golfers. Mississippi State reached the NCAA Tournament five times under her leadership.
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - The Mississippi State men's golf team concluded its season at the Southeastern Conference Championships with an 11th place finish after firing a field-low 301 in the third and final round of the event, which was played at the par-70 Seaside Course in St. Simons Island, Ga. True freshman Brad Mason highlighted the Bulldogs day with a top 10 individual finish.
The Bulldogs began the tournament with a top five effort, but progressively fell down the team standings ending the tournament in 11th. The Georgia Bulldogs claimed its 28th conference title, while Florida and Ole Miss both posted runner-up finishes.
State was led by Mason who picked up his first career top 10 finish. After notching consecutive rounds of 71, Mason ended the tournament with a 3-under-par 67, bringing his three-round total to a 1-under-par 209 and finished in a tied for eighth among the 60-player field. Mason's third-round score of 67 was a career low and his three-round total of 209 was also a career-best.
Bulldog junior Evan Hugall had a career tournament as well, by posting a career-best 220 and finished in a tie for 38th. Sophomore Lee Heaton of MSU posted rounds of 69, 72 and 81, bringing his 54-hole total to 222. MState's true freshman Robi Calvesbert tallied a tournament total of 226 and sophomore Brad Thompson rounded out the Bulldog lineup with a 243.
The Bulldogs ended the season with five top 10 finishes and four individual top 10 finishes.