CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - Bounce back.
That was head coach Samantha Ricketts message to her team on Saturday evening after Mississippi State (12-3) dropped its first game of the day to BYU by a score of 6-2. The Bulldogs responded in a huge way, posting a 10-4 victory against San Diego State to close their time at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
"I really like the bounce back of the team, from game one to game two as well as after [SDSU] tied it up, and seeing how they responded to both challenges," Ricketts said. "That's something that we've been asking from them, and to really see what we're going to do when we take hits. When things don't go our way, can we respond and do it quickly? To come back after the couple of miscues defensively and put up a five spot was a good sign for us."
State took control early against the Aztecs (11-6) with a four-run second inning, but surrendered that lead in the fourth when the Bulldogs made three errors as SDSU scored four to tie. MSU immediately responded with a five-run outburst in the bottom half of the frame and did not allow another run. The Bulldogs added an insurance marker in the fifth.
The home run ball did most of the damage, with Carter Spexarth, Montana Davidson and Fa Leilua all going deep in the contest. Annie Willis earned the win in relief, allowing one unearned tally in 4.0 innings and striking out five.
In the first game of the day, the Bulldogs were done in by the long ball, allowing three home runs to BYU (9-5). The Cougars took a one-run lead in the first inning and tacked on another on a solo home run in the fourth. The Bulldogs answered in the bottom half of the inning to cut the lead to one, but allowed a two-run homer in the top of the fifth.
MSU again answered in the sixth, scoring one to cut the lead to 4-2, but another two-run homer in the seventh resulted in the final score. Candace Denis went 2-for-4 in that game with an RBI. Davidson produced State's other run with a sacrifice fly and made a sliding catch into the wall in foul ground in the third inning.
Candace Denis - Turned in her fourth and fifth multi-hit games of the year going a combined 4-for-8 with two RBIs ... Stole her eighth base of the year against SDSU and is a perfect 8-for-8 on steal attempts.
Montana Davidson - Snapped an 0-for-18 stretch with a single in her first at-bat against BYU ... Made a sliding catch into the fence in foul territory along the third base line in that game ... Homered against SDSU and went a combined 2-for-5 on the day with three RBIs.
Fa Leilua - Hit her team-leading sixth home run of the year ... Has now turned in six multi-hit and six multi-RBI contests, which leads the team.
Chloe Malau'ulu - Saw her reached base streak reach eight straight games against BYU, which is the third-longest stretch by a Bulldog this season ... Made a diving catch to save a double down the right field line on the first batter of the game against SDSU.
Jackie McKenna - Pinch hit against BYU and drove a double for her first career extra base hit ... Is riding a three-game hitting streak.
Annie Willis - Earned her third win of the year and has now struck out 28 batters in 25.0 innings with a 1.40 ERA.
In a Pinch - State's pinch hitters are now 6-for-8 and have reached base in 11-of-13 such opportunities ... Three of MSU's pinch hits have gone for extra bases.
VS. BYU SCORING RECAP
Leadoff hitter Riley Jensen-McFarland singled to open the game. Following two strikeouts, she stole second and took third on a throwing error on the play. Huntyr Ava brought her home with a two-out single.
BYU 1, Mississippi State 0
Bridget Fleener hit a two-out home run to right field.
BYU 2, Mississippi State 0
With one out, Madisyn Kennedy singled, and Carter Spexarth reached on a fielder's choice. Kennedy advanced to third on the play when the throw was wild. Montana Davidson brought Kennedy home with a sacrifice fly to left field.
BYU 2, Mississippi State 1
With one out, Erin Miklus walked, and Riley Jensen-McFarland homered to right field to score two.
BYU 4, Mississippi State 1
Jackie McKenna drove a two-out, pinch-hit double into center, and Aquana Brownlee ran for her at second. Candace Denis singled up the middle to score State's second run.
BYU 4, Mississippi State 2
After the first two batters were retired, Taylei Williams reached on an error, and Huntyr Ava homered to left field.
BYU 6, Mississippi State 2
VS. SAN DIEGO STATE SCORING RECAP
Carter Spexarth hit a leadoff home run to left. With one out, Madisyn Kennedy singled to left field. Lindsey Williams doubled down the right field line to bring home Kennedy. With two outs, Candace Denis singled up the middle to score Williams. Mia Davidson drove a base hit into right field, and Denis scored from first on the play.
San Diego State 0, Mississippi State 4
Taylor Adams hit a leadoff double to right field. Kelsey Munoz then one-hopped a ball off Lindsey Williams and reached on the error, allowing Adams to score when the ball bounced away. Sara Lillie doubled to left field, pushing Munoz to third. After a pitching change, Alexa Schultz popped up into shallow center, but Madisyn Kennedy dropped the ball, allowing Munoz to score. Schultz advanced to second, and Lillie took third on the play. Sadie Langlet hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Lillie and advance Schultz. With two outs, Kristen Parker reached on another Kennedy error to allow Schultz to score.
San Diego State 4, Mississippi State 4
Lindsey Williams drew a leadoff walk, and Paige Cook pinch ran at first. Montana Davidson homered to left field. Following a strikeout, Mia Davidson walked, and Fa Leilua hit a two-run home run. With two outs, Carter Spexarth came inches shy of a second homer with a double off the right field fence. Brylie St. Clair came on to pinch run. Anna Kate Segars drove a base hit past the third baseman to score St. Clair.
San Diego State 4, Mississippi State 9
Candace Denis singled into right field with one out. She stole second before scoring on Fa Leilua's two-out single up the middle.
San Diego State 4, Mississippi State 10
MARY NUTTER CLASSIC RESULTS
Thursday, Feb. 20
No. RV/24 Mississippi State 1, Oregon State 0
No. 15/17 Oregon 7, No. RV/24 Mississippi State 2
Friday, Feb. 21
No. RV/24 Mississippi State 6, UC Riverside 3
Saturday, Feb. 22
BYU 6, No. RV/24 Mississippi State 2
No. RV/24 Mississippi State 10, San Diego State 4