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Arizona advances to Women's College World Series - Starkville, Mississippi

Arizona ends Mississippi State's magical run

122 days ago
Mississippi State Athletics
Photo: Mississippi State Athletics

STARKVILLE - Mississippi State's historic 2022 season concluded on Saturday as the Bulldogs fell, 7-1, to Arizona in the Starkville Super Regional.

Aspen Wesley blanked the Wildcats over the first three innings, and Madisyn Kennedy delivered an RBI single in the second that gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead before Arizona (38-21) rallied in the fourth frame to claim victory and advance to the Women's College World Series.

"Overall, as much as this hurts for us, this team, this staff and these players, I just really couldn't be prouder of each and every one of them," State head coach Samantha Ricketts said. "It wasn't an easy road to get here by any means. We had our ups and downs and bumps and bruises along the way. I think that's why we're on this stage right now and why we were one of the last 16 teams standing. Just incredibly proud of their fight and their grit and the growth that they've shown and really just their ability to put Mississippi State softball on the map."

Into the middle innings on Saturday, it looked as though the Bulldogs' year might get extended. Wesley pitched into the fourth with the lead gained courtesy of Kennedy in the second.

Addison Purvis began that frame with a hard-hit single down the right field line and a fielding error in right allowed Purvis to advance to second. After Allison Florian entered to run for Purvis, Florian sprinted home when Kennedy laced a shot to left-center field.

In the fourth, Arizona countered. Wesley issued a one-out walk and one batter later, Carlie Scupin delivered a two-run homer over the right-field wall that put the Wildcats on top 2-1. Arizona went on to score five more times in the inning.

Annie Willis entered the circle for the Bulldogs in the fifth and didn't allow a run in her 2.0 scoreless innings of relief, but MSU (37-27) was unable to mount a comeback.

Quotables

Mia Davidson on her career and making history for the program... "That is what I set out to do. I wanted to come to a program and make something of it. I wanted to leave it better than when I found it. I wanted to have a team that was we over me and that knew their role. I came in and know I gave my all. I gave my heart and soul since June 13, 2013, when I committed. I just know that Mississippi State will always have my heart and will always be home. Thank you, Coach [Samantha] Ricketts for the opportunity to live out my dream as a young girl from Hillsborough, NC. I couldn't have asked for anything else from this program or school. Thank you, John Cohen, thank you everyone for all of the time and effort that you put into this program. Thank you for everything that you did to put Mississippi State on the map. I appreciate every single person in this room."

Annie Willis on the future of Mississippi State softball... "The future is bright for this program. There is no end to it, there is only just the beginning. Mia [Davidson] and I just wanted to leave this program better than when we found it. I think that the senior class has done that. I think that we have laid a great foundation for future Bulldogs to continue this growth. Reaching this stage will now be a goal for every season moving forward."

Quick Hitters

  • Packing the Park - Saturday's attendance of 2,299 is a Nusz Park record and the largest collegiate softball crowd on record in the state of Mississippi.
  • Paige Cook - Went 1-for-3 and drew a walk.
  • Mia Davidson - Drew a walk and reached on a fielder's choice in her final collegiate game ... closes her career as MSU's all-time leader in games played and started, slugging percentage (.775), home runs (92), runs scored (219), RBIs (220), total bases (610), hit-by-pitches (57), runners picked off (13), defensive chances (1759), putouts (1555) and runners thrown out (47).
  • Madisyn Kennedy - Delivered an RBI single in the second inning.
  • Shea Moreno - Went 1-for-2 with a walk.
  • Annie Willis - Threw the final 2.0 innings without allowing a run in her final collegiate game ... allowed just two hits and struck out a pair.

Scoring Recap

Top 2 | Addison Purvis laced a leadoff single down the right field line and advanced to second on a fielding error. Allison Florian pinch ran for Purvis and scored on Madisyn Kennedy's singled off the left-center wall. Arizona 0, Mississippi State 1

Bottom 4 | With one out, Izzy Pacho drew a walk and Amber Toven entered to pinch run. Carlie Scupin hit a two-run home run. Paige Dimler was hit by a pitch and Blaise Biringer singled down the third base line. Sophia Carroll hit a grounder to short, but the throw to third was high and wide, allowing Dimler reach safely and load the bases. Bailey Thompson came in to pinch hit and drew an RBI-walk. Jasmine Perezchica re-entered for Thopson and Allie Enright came in to pinch run for Carroll. Janellee Meoño reached on a fielder's choice to third base, but the pitch to the plate was also errant. Two runs scored. Perezchica advanced to third and Meoño scored. With two runners on, Sharlize Palacios singled through the right side to score Meoño and Palacios. Arizona 7, Mississippi State 1