TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Mississippi State fell, 4-0, to South Florida in the Tallahassee Regional opener on Friday night. With the loss, State will now play an elimination game on Saturday afternoon against the loser of No. 2 Florida State and Howard at 2:30 p.m. CT.
Annie Willis, fresh off being selected in the WPF Draft moments prior to first pitch, threw 4.0 innings. She allowed just one run, but it came on a first-and-third double steal where the Bulldogs (33-25) threw out the runner trying for second.
South Florida (45-14) added three runs in the top of the sixth on a pair of home runs, resulting in the final score.
"Credit to South Florida, we knew coming in that they were one of, if not, the best No. 3 seed in this tournament, and Georgina Clark, a top three finalist for National Player of the Year, and she showed why," head coach Samantha Ricketts said. "I think she did a great job, exactly what you would expect out of a seasoned pitcher like that. I thought we did a good job getting runners on base, we just couldn't really get them past second base there early on with some double plays and things that really kind of killed our momentum."
The Bulldogs scattered four hits against Corrick and left multiple runners on base in three innings. In the seventh, State pushed runners to second and third with two outs, but a strikeout ended the ballgame.
Aspen Wesley threw the final inning of the contest, needing just nine pitches to retire the side.
Samantha Ricketts on her team's resilience...
"I think we're prepared for that. I think we've been through the trenches this year. Starting off with our first weekend out and how much we've grown in the tough schedule that we've faced whether it was preseason or SEC play, we've been through the grind. We know what it's like to have our backs against the wall, particularly the returners on the team that were in the squad last year. We know what it's like to have to fight and claw our way into the postseason, we've done that too. I'm excited to see the bounce back. I think that's something we've done particularly well throughout SEC play is come back after a loss with a vengeance and compete and get after it, doing it for each other and the person to our left and right. It's not so much putting the pressure on ourselves but enjoying the game, our teammates and the moment. That's something we've done a good job of in the last few weeks, and I'm excited to see what that looks like tomorrow."
Paige Cook - Went 2-for-3 with a pair of infield singles ... turned in her 13th multi-hit game of the year.
Mia Davidson - Caught a runner stealing in the first inning and has cut down a school-record 56 runners in her career (44 CS, 12 PO) ... was hit by a pitch for the school-record 56th time.
Annie Willis - Drafted 13 minutes prior to first pitch ... selected No. 7 overall by the Smash It Sports Vipers in the WPF Draft ... started the game and went 4.0 innings ... only run allowed came on a double steal attempt in a first-and-third situation.
Alexis Johns opened the game with a single up the middle. She then stole second and advanced to third on an infield single by Meghan Sheehan. Johns scored on a first-and-third play when Sheehan was caught stealing second. South Florida 1, Mississippi State 0
Sheehan hit a leadoff home run. Alanah Rivera then singled up the middle. She scored when Josie Foreman hit a two-run homer to left. South Florida 4, Mississippi State 0
Mississippi State will play the loser of No. 2 Florida State / Howard in an elimination game at 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday.