GAINESVILLE, Fla. - After seeing the game tied in the bottom of the seventh, Mississippi State battled back to win, 7-4, in nine innings against No. 18 LSU in the SEC Tournament.
State (33-23) took an early lead on a two-run home run from Shea Moreno in the first inning. The Tigers (34-21) tied the game in the second on a two-run homer of their own. Speed and small ball scored two more runs for MSU in the third.
"I'm just really proud of the way the team continued to fight out there," head coach Samantha Ricketts said. "We did a great job setting the tone early with Shea's homerun and Mia finding her way on base in front of her. The middle of the lineup did a great job of picking us up all day long. Annie Willis had another quality start and Kenley [Hawk] came in and held the line like she needed to. And what a great job by Aspen Wesley to come in with bases loaded, no outs and strike out the side and finish it off for us. A good team win, using people for defensive subs, pinch hits and different pitching appearances-just an overall great team win."
Annie Willis kept LSU in check until she was lifted with two on and one out in the sixth. The Tigers again tied the game with one out in the seventh.
After back-to-back singles, Mia Davidson drove in the winning run with a base hit through the left side in the top of the ninth. Moreno then brought home another run with a base hit before a third insurance run scored on Chloe Malau'ulu's sacrifice fly.
Aspen Wesley pitched the extra frames after coming in two runners on and nobody out in the eighth. She struck out the side in that inning and retired the side in order in the ninth to earn the win.
Samantha Ricketts on the team's resiliency...
"The way this team regrouped shows how resilient they are and how they are able to continue to compete and attack for the person to their left and to their right. Whether it is picking up your teammates or picking up Kenley [Hawk] after she gave up that two-run homerun in the middle of the seventh. Really proud of the comeback. It is something we have been working on, and you saw it happen on Sunday for us against LSU as well. That relaxed the offense, and we are starting to be more aggressive and getting back to the MSU offense we are used to seeing."
Samantha Ricketts on what she told the team after LSU tied it...
"The message was 'We knew four wasn't going to be enough, so we need to continue to compete.' We knew we were going to need more than four with LSU's offense. We told them to not go away, to not get quiet in the dugout and to continue to have the same energy that we had in the first. We know our game is playing loose and having fun, so we wanted to try to continue to do that even after they came back to tie it."
Shea Moreno on motivation after just losing the series to LSU...
"It helped tremendously having just seen them, knowing what each pitcher was going to throw us. It was good for us because no one expects us to win, so we are building that confidence and will kee
SEC Tournament Notables - MSU won its third postseason extra-inning game ... The Bulldogs are 3-5 in extra innings in postseason play ... it was State's first extra innings victory in the SEC Tournament ... MSU's seven runs are its highest total in the conference tournament since an 8-2 victory over No. 10 Tennessee in 2004.
In a Pinch - Two of State's pinch hitters collected back-to-back singles ... Matalasi Faapito is now 2-for-2 as a pinch hitter this year ... Jackie McKenna is now 1-for-3 this season ... as a team, State is 16-for-55 (.291) when pinch hitting this year.
Paige Cook - Doubled home a run for her 20th two-out RBI of the year ... also reached on an error.
Mia Davidson - Singled off the left-field wall and scored the opening run.
Chloe Malau'ulu - Beat out an infield single for an RBI ... also scored from first on a double.
Shea Moreno - Hit her third home run of the year to drive in two.
Brylie St. Clair - Beat out a bunt single and later scored from second on an infield single.
Aspen Wesley - Earned the win, throwing the eighth and ninth innings ... struck out four and worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth.
Mia Davidson singled off the left-field wall before Shea Moreno hit a two-run homer.
Mississippi State 2, LSU 0
Shelbi Sunseri doubled with one out. With two outs, Morgan Smith homered off the end of the center fielder's glove.
Mississippi State 2, LSU 2
Brylie St. Clair beat out a bunt single to open the inning. She moved to second on a ground out from Moreno. With two outs, Chloe Malau'ulu beat out an infield single that the second baseman fielded behind the bag. On the same play, St. Clair scored from second. Paige Cook doubled to right-center, scoring Malau'ulu from first.
Mississippi State 4, LSU 2
Savannah Stewart walked to open the inning. With one out, Danieca Coffey doubled to right field, putting runners on second and third. Ciara Briggs singled back up the middle to plate two runs.
Mississippi State 4, LSU 4
With one out, Riley Hull and St. Clair hit back-to-back singles. Davidson drove in Hull with a single to left field. She advanced to second on the throw as St. Clair reached third. Moreno singled to shortstop, scoring St. Clair and advancing Davidson to third. Davidson scored on a sacrifice fly from Malau'ulu.
Mississippi State 7, LSU 4