STARKVILLE - A six-run third inning propelled Mississippi State softball (20-8, 1-3 SEC) to a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over No. 13 Auburn (26-5, 3-1 SEC) Friday night at Nusz Park.
The victory was not only State's first conference victory of the season, but also the first over a ranked opponent. The win also snapped a four-game skid against the Tigers.
Seven Bulldogs combined for hits in the contest as MSU was led by the Davidson sisters as both freshman Mia and sophomore Montana picked up two hits for State. Mia Davidson went 2-for-4, slugging her 15th home run of the season, to drive in two runs. Senior Sarai Niu also drove in two runs with a single in the third.
Junior Alyssa Loza tossed the complete game to pick up her seventh win of the season and the first in conference play. The right-hander worked around seven hits, giving up three home runs to the Tigers, and a walk.
Loza struck out only one, relying on her defense forcing 11 groundouts and eight fly outs. Of her six runs allowed, only four were earned.
After a scoreless first, Auburn led off the second inning with a Tannon Snow home run to left center field. After a throwing error put a Tiger on Justus Perry tripled to right field to score a run. Perry would come home on a second Bulldog error of the inning to extend the lead to 3-0.
Junior Candace Denis led off the home half of the inning with bunt single to third base and advance to third on a Montana Davidson single through the right side. Auburn fielded a double play at second, but conceded the run as Denis score to cut the lead to 3-1.
The Tigers got a run back in the fourth, leading off the inning with a home run to straight-away center from Casey McCrackin.
Mississippi State began its rally in the third as senior Bevia Robinson got on base with a throwing error on her bunt attempt. Mia Davidson made it a 4-3 game with a home run to left field, her 15th of the season.
After an Auburn pitching change, junior Fa Leilua singled to second base. After advancing to second on a groundout and third on a wild pitch, Leilua would score as Carter Spexarth tied the game up with an infield single to short.
With two on base after a second Auburn error of the inning, Montana Davidson put the Bulldogs in front with a double to right field. Niu capped the inning with a two-run single off the top of the left field wall to extend the State lead to 7-4.
Auburn pulled within one run in the sixth with a Kendall Veach two-run home run and brought the top of the Tiger order in the seventh inning. Loza forced two outs at second and recorded her lone strikeout to retire the side and record the win.
THE THUNDER ROLLS
Mia Davidson moved one step closer to her own single-season record as she slugged her 15th home run of season, moving into a tie for fourth with Jessica Cooley (2012). Davidson is now just five home run shy of breaking her own single-season record.
With 15 home runs, Davidson has tied Caroline Seitz (2015) for Mississippi State's sophomore home run record and needs just one to hold the record outright. Davidson set MSU's freshman record last season with her 19 home runs.
Davidson now has 34 career home runs to her credit and is just three away from moving into a tie for second place in school history.