BATON ROUGE, La. -- Missouri put the Mississippi State defense through their paces as the Tigers beat the Bulldogs 9-0 in the 2015 SEC Softball Tournament opening game. The Tigers run-rule win came off a walk-off home run by center-fielder Kirsten Mack in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Tigers opened the tournament with error-free softball after ranking second-to last in that category during the regular season. Pitcher Tori Finucane threw a 50-strike, 79-pitch game across six innings striking out two batters.
MSU pitcher Alexis Silkwood gutted out a 131-pitch game over five innings, managing to keep the Bulldogs within two runs until the Tigers pulled ahead 6-0 after a fifth inning grand slam by Tiger first baseman Kelsea Roth.
"Smartly so, Silkwood went away from our righties and didn't throw her drop-curve as much," said Missouri head coach Ehren Earleywine. "For the first three or four innings we couldn't scratch any runs because she went against our plan. Eventually we figured it out, barreled a couple of balls, and got the win."
Cassady Knudsen replaced Silkwood in the circle for the sixth and final inning.
"We found a way to beat a lot of good teams this year, regardless of the stats," Earleywine said. "We are playing our best softball right now."
Missouri entered the tournament on a hot streak, finishing the regular season winning 13 out of their last 16 regular season games, including a 3-2 win over No. 1 Florida on May 3.
Missouri faces Auburn tomorrow in the second round at 10:00 a.m. CT / 11:00 a.m. ET and will be live on SEC Network and online at secnetwork.com.