STARKVILLE - Mississippi State's softball team kept the momentum rolling with a 4-2 win against No. 22 Georgia on Saturday. The victory marks MSU's sixth consecutive SEC win, which is the fourth-longest conference streak winning streak in school history.
The Bulldogs (31-22, 7-15 SEC) battled back from falling down two runs in the top of the second. A solo home run and a sacrifice fly plated runs for Georgia (29-19, 7-16 SEC), but Emily Williams was locked in from there. After needing 50 pitches to get through the first two frames, the senior used just 26 to get through the third, fourth and fifth. She retired 14 straight batters and 16 of the last 17 she faced to get the win in a complete-game effort.
"I think it shows what we've learned through the last few weeks," head coach Samantha Ricketts said. "I think if this had happened early on in the SEC season it would not have been the same bounce back. That's why it's so important for us to go through those losses and the close games the way that we did. To be able to bounce back and make every play after that inning, and to answer back and get some runs on the board for Emily, so that she could get in a groove I think was huge and shows the grittiness and the fight."
A bases-loaded walk from Montana Davidson put the Bulldogs on the board in the bottom of the second, and Mia Davidson hit a solo home run to tie the game in the bottom of the third. The home run marked her 68th career blast, surpassing MSU baseball legend Rafael Palmeiro for the most by a Bulldog student-athlete in either sport.
Following a walk, hit-by-pitch and a fielder's choice in the fourth, State had runners on second and third for Chloe Malau'ulu, who ripped a double down the right-field line to plate the winning runs.
Samantha Ricketts on playing small ball in the third inning:
"It was a big-time home run for us to come from behind and tie up the game after we gave up two early on. I think once we were all reminded of what the milestone meant it was pretty exciting as well. We think it's pretty awesome because the whole countdown and the race between her and [Rafael] Palmeiro, on the baseball side, was started by Palmeiro and by him tweeting at her saying she could catch him. It's pretty cool when someone of his status recognizes Mia for her accomplishments and how tough it is to do in any sport. To give her the accolades and the shoutouts, it's been such a cool experience for all of us. He knows just how hard it is to perform at this level with this type of pressure, no matter if you're on the baseball field or the softball field. I'm really proud her and really thankful for his support of Mississippi State athletics, in particular the softball team and Mia and Fa [Leilua] after all of this."
Mia Davidson on her record-breaking home run:
"I think it's a great milestone, especially having Rafael Palmeiro behind me and cheering me on and supporting the whole team. It's cool that a past baseball player is really cheering us on and seeing us in our success these last couple of weeks. It's a relief [to have broken it], because sometimes you get reminded each time. Then I tried too hard to get it over with, but it was a great thing to have. Honestly, in the moment, I totally forgot about it for a second. I was just going to hit because I know if I think about it too much, I'm going to try and swing too hard. I just trusted the plan we all had and just did it, so it was nice."
Chloe Malau'ulu on MSU's winning streak:
"I think at South Carolina we just found something that we wanted to keep feeding off this energy we have and keep the ball rolling and everyone knows now what it takes to win these games and grind it out. It's just really cool to have that same vibe throughout the whole team, they all know what it takes. We're going to keep doing what's working and see how the rest of the season plays out."
Emily Williams on Mia Davidson's record:
"I think it's been really fun. Every time she comes to the plate, we know we have a chance for runs to score. It's exciting, and it makes it a really fun atmosphere. Honestly, I wasn't sure how close she was. I don't think too many people knew. They try not to focus on the stats and everything, just having fun and playing."
Let's Go Streaking - The Bulldogs have won six consecutive SEC games for the first time since 2012 ... It is the fourth-longest winning streak in league play in school history ... The Bulldogs' four-game winning streak against NFCA-ranked opponents is tied for the second-longest in program history with the 2002 season ... It is the first time MSU has done so in four consecutive games without a break against an unranked team during the streak ... State has won three consecutive SEC series for the first time since 2017.
Paige Cook - Hit her sixth double of the year ... Went 2-for-2 with a walk.
Mia Davidson - Hit her 68th career home run to pass Rafael Palmeiro for the MSU baseball and softball career record ... Is now tied for second in SEC softball history with Georgia's Alyssa DiCarlo and is three shy of the all-time conference record set by Lauren Haeger (71) ... Now has 16 home runs this season.
Montana Davidson - Scored after reaching on a fielder's choice ... Drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk ... Added a hit in her last at-bat.
Chloe Malau'ulu - Had two hits and two RBIs ... Had a career-high six putouts ... Stole her ninth base of the season ... Now has 12 doubles this year.
Emily Williams - Posted six strikeouts ... retired 14 straight batters and 16 of the last 17 she faced ... Posted her third complete game of the season, all in SEC play and all while allowing two or fewer runs.
Jayda Kearney homered to center field. Sydney Chambley walked. Chambley advanced to second on a single through the left side from Ellie Armistead. An error on the second baseman allowed CJ Landrum to reach to load the bases. Chambley scored on a sacrifice fly from Savana Sikes. Georgia 2, Mississippi State 0
Addison Purvis singled through the left side. Purvis advanced to third on a double from Paige Cook. Madisyn Kennedy walked to load the bases. Purvis scored on a Montana Davidson walk. Georgia 2, Mississippi State 1
Mia Davidson homered to center field.
Georgia 2, Mississippi State 2
Cook walked and advanced to second when Kennedy was hit by a pitch. Cook advanced to third and Kennedy to second on a sacrifice bunt from Jackie McKenna. Cook was thrown out at home on a ground ball to third base from Montana Davidson. Kennedy advanced to third, and Montana Davidson advanced to second on the play. Kennedy and Montana Davidson scored when Chloe Malau'ulu doubled down the right field line. Georgia 2, Mississippi State 4
MSU and Georgia wrap up the series on Sunday with first pitch set for 1 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.