STARKVILLE, Miss. - Annie Willis shined in the circle, and Mia Davidson and Matalasi Faapito both hit home runs for Mississippi State, but Arizona ultimately used a seventh-inning rally and eighth-inning homer to top MSU, 3-2, in Game 1 of the Starkville Super Regional.
It was the Bulldogs' fifth multi-homer game of the tournament, and along the way State (37-26) broke its single-season record with long balls No. 72 and 73 of the year.
Davidson broke things open with a solo shot to center in the fifth. It was the same spot in the park where she was robbed of a homer by Arizona's Janelle Meoño in the first inning. But this one wasn't come back as it ricocheted off the top of the camera lift.
Madisyn Kennedy made her own highlight-reel play to rival Meoño's for play of the game in the fifth. With a runner on second, Kennedy dove to catch a liner behind second base and dove to tag the bag for a double play.
Arizona (37-20) answered Davidson with a leadoff homer in the top of the sixth, but Faapito also delivered a leadoff blast in the bottom of the inning to regain the lead.
A bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh tied the game. Once in extras, the Wildcats opened the eighth inning with a solo home run that proved to be the game-winner.
Packing the Park - Today's attendance of 2,209 is a Nusz Park record and the largest collegiate softball crowd on record in the state of Mississippi.
Loving the Long Ball - MSU tied and broke its school record with home runs Nos. 72 and 73 of the year ... all of State's 70-homer seasons have come since 2019 and since Samantha Ricketts was on staff with the Bulldogs ... it was the Bulldogs' fifth multi-homer game in their NCAA Tournament history, and all five have come since 2018.
Mia Davidson - Hit career home run No. 92, which ties her for third in NCAA history ... tied with former Arizona players Katiyana Mauga and Jessie Harper ... Mauga served as MSU's volunteer assistant coach in 2020 ... home run was the fifth of her career in the NCAA Tournament, extending her MSU career record in the tournament.
Matalasi Faapito - Went 2-for-3 with a solo home run ... also drew an eighth-inning walk.
Chloe Malau'ulu - Drew walks in each of her first two plate appearances.
Madisyn Kennedy - Went 1-for-3 ... turned a solo double play with a diving catch on a liner and dive bag to the bag to get the runner tagging up.
Annie Willis - Struck out five in 6.0-plus innings ... left a 2-1 ballgame with two runners on base ... only one run allowed was earned.
Mia Davidson led off the inning with a solo home run to center field.
Arizona 0, Mississippi State 1
Allie Skaggs led off for Arizona with a solo home run to right field. Arizona 1, Mississippi State 1 Bottom 6 Matalasi Faapito opened the frame with a solo home run to right field.
Arizona 1, Mississippi State 2
Blaise Biringer drew a walk, and Giulia Koutsoyanopu pinch ran at first. Sophia Carroll bunted Koutsoyanopu to second and was awarded first base upon review for obstruction. Allie Enright came in to pinch run for Carroll. Janelle Meoño singled to third to advance Koutsoyanopu and Enright. Koutsoyanopu scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Sharlize Palacios.
Arizona 2, Mississippi State 2
Izzy Pacho led off with a solo home run down the left field line.
Arizona 3, Mississippi State 2
Game 2 of the Super Regional is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, May 28.