Jaguar Softball Defeats Mississippi State 3-2 In Starkville

April 16, 2015 · By · Filed Under NCAA, News, Softball 

USA-SoftballThe #22 ranked South Alabama Jaguars traveled to Starkville, MS to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs Wednesday night and came away with a 3-2 win after turning away three rally attempts by the Bulldogs.

South Alabama put the first run on the board in the top of the fourth inning after senior shortstop Kaitlyn Griffith led off the inning with a double to left field. She would move to third base on Amanda Minahan’s infield base hit. Blair Johnson would bring Griffith home on an RBI groundout to second base to take a 1-0 lead.

The Jags added to their lead in the top of the fifth inning after Kristian Foster drew a walk. Stephanie Pilkington got on base on a fielder’s choice and was followed by Griffith drawing a walk to put two Jaguars on base. Sophomore Chloe Rathburn then hit a two-run single that fell just short of clearing the outfield wall and the bases, to put the Jags up 3-0.

Then MSU tried to rally. Bulldog center fielder Loryn Nichols reached base on a Jag throwing error to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. She would later score on a two-out single up the middle to cut the Jaguar lead to 3-1 through five complete innings.

The Jags went down in order in the top of the sixth inning, but the Bulldogs continued their attempted rally with back-to-back singles. Jaguar head coach Becky Clark then brough in Farish Beard to relieve starter Kalen McGill. Beard struck out the first batter before shortstop Kayla Winkfield hit a sacrifice fly to center field to drive in their second run of the game and cutting the Jaguar lead to only one run, 3-2.

Beard opened the seventh inning with a strikeout, then followed with a walk before forcing a pop out to first. Another walk put two Bulldogs on base, but Beard sealed with win after knocking down a bouncer up the middle and throwing them out at first base.

McGill (14-1) pitched a no-hitter for 3 1/3 innings to earn her seventh victory in a row. She struck out three and walked one allowing two runs, only one earned, on four hits in five innings pitched. Beard, who came in as relief, allowed no runs, struck out three with a pair of walks in two innings as she earned the save.

Rathburn went 1-for-3 with two RBI as she recorded her team-leading 15th multiple-RBI game this season. Kaitlyn Griffith went 1-for-3 with a run scored while Pilkington went 1-for-4 with a run scored as well.

Mississippi State’s Alexis Silkwood (22-10) is a two-time SEC Pitcher of the Week over the last two voting period took the loss after allowing three runs, all earned, on four Jaguar hits in a complete-game effort.

“This was a really well-played game tonight. It kind of had a postseason feel to it,” said coach Clark. “It was a great win for us on the road. I felt like our kids were prepared, I felt like they competed, and I felt like they were composed the entire game. I’m proud of our effort tonight.”

The Jags improve their overall record to 32-7, their road record to 10-2 on teh season, and thier record against SEC opponents to 2-2 on the season. The Jags have now won the the last four meetings against the Bulldogs to hold a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series.

USA will return to Sun Belt Conference play this weekend when they host Texas State in the final regular-season conference home series of the season. Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 1pm as well as Sunday’s finale.

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