Mississippi State's Alison Owen and Alabama's Jaclyn Traina staged a pitching duel through nine innings of play, but scoreboard erupted in the tenth, and freshman Katie Ann Bailey provided the last bit of fireworks with a tenth-inning sacrifice fly to give Mississippi State a 4-3 win over No. 2 Alabama to clinch the series victory at the MSU Softball Stadium in Starkville.
Through nine innings, neither team could scratch a run across the plate, but both had opportunity at various points in the game.
In the bottom of the second, Caroline Seitz led off with a walk, and moved to second with one out, but the Bulldogs could not bring her around. In the third, Alabama threatened with a leadoff double, but a first-to-third double play ended the Crimson Tide threat.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Bulldogs again had runner in scoring position with one out, but they could not find a way to score Loryn Nichols.
In the top of the tenth, Alabama (37-7, 15-3) forced the first runs of the game across the plate, scoring three times in all to chase Owen out of the game with two outs in the top of the tenth. Alexis Silkwood (9-5) took over in the circle, forcing a pop fly to end the inning with Alabama holding a 3-0 lead.
Nichols and Jessica Offutt drew walks to start the bottom of the tenth for Mississippi State, forcing Alabama to go to the bullpen and bring in Sydney Littlejohn, and against her first batter, Littlejohn committed a throwing error on a grounder from Heidi Shape to load the bases with no outs for Mississippi State (32-14, 5-10).
Sam Lenahan reached on an infield single, scoring Nichols to cut the Alabama lead to 3-1. Logan Foulks followed with an RBI single that scored Offutt to cut the Crimson Tide's lead to 3-2.
With the bases loaded and no one out, the Bulldogs sent Amanda Ivy to run for Lenahan, who now stood at second base with Shape at third. Seitz, the hero from Saturday, stepped into the batters' box and hit a ground ball to second base, where Kaila Hunt fielded it and tried to gun down Shape at home, but was late on the throw, tying the game at 3-3.
With no one out, Bailey lifted a fly ball into centerfield, allowing Ivy to tag up and score for the 4-3 Mississippi State victory. It was the second time this season that Bailey had driven in a walk-off winning run against a top-ten SEC foe as she did the same against No. 8 Kentucky earlier in the season.
The game played in front of 998 fans was the seventh-most attended game at Mississippi State, and the three day crowd of 3,584 set a record for the largest crowd for a weekend series in Starkville.
Mississippi State returns to action Tuesday in Jackson with a mid-week contest with the Jackson State Tigers slated to start at 6 pm.