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MSU Softball falls to #22 South Alabama 3-2

The Lady Bulldogs were unable to win a pitcher's duel Wednesday night at home against the University of South Alabama

Alexis Silkwood pitched a complete game for Mississippi State (31-13) in a close pitcher's duel against #22 South Alabama (32-7) but wasn't able to get the offensive support to win. Mississippi State ended up losing 3-2, despite attempting to make a late rally.

The Jaguars and Bulldogs each had 4 hits, but the South Alabama offense looked more impressive from the start of the game, notching a two out hit in the first and then advancing 2 runners into scoring position on an error off of a high throw by Caroline Seitz to Erika Gaul. Both runners were left on base. The Bulldogs also got 2 runners on base in the first, as Echols and Silkwood were both hit by pitch but left them both on base.

Silkwood would go on to plunk a batter of her own in the top of second but South Alabama stranded her as well due to a ground out, a magnificent catch by Loryn Nichols in center field, and a pop fly. MSU was still held hitless through the 2nd inning.

The 3rd inning was just as quiet as the 2nd for both teams as Silkwood was able to get her first strikeout of the evening and the Jaguars went down in order. Echols was able to get her 2nd walk of the evening, but State stranded her and couldn't bring any runs home.

The first run of the game came in the top of the 4th inning as the Jaguars got 2 hits to bring in a run. South Alabama was able to get a leadoff double and advanced their runner eventually to 3rd and home through a couple of groundouts and a single. State was able to get out of the inning and left 2 runners on base with another groundout to Winkfield, stranding 2 more Jaguars on base. Katie Anne Bailey was able to get State's first hit of the night by a single, but MSU couldn't plate any runs in the 4th.

South Alabama was able to break the game open by a couple of runs with a couple of walks, a very deep hit that bounced off the outfield wall, and a fielder's choice, which extended the Jaguar lead out to 3-0. The Jaguars would go on to strand 2 runners on base, but not after the damage was done. State was able to respond by forcing an error and solid base running from Nichols. Seitz would single to bring in Nichols and close the gap to 3-1 in the 5th inning.

State was able to get the Jaguars out in order in the top of the 6th and attempted a rally in the bottom of the inning. Silkwood was able to start the at bat with a single, followed shortly by a single by Bailey. While Erika Gaul was at bat, Madison Arroyo (pinch running for Silkwood) and Bailey performed a double steal and moved both base runners into scoring position. Gaul would strike out, followed by a sac fly by Winkfield to score another run. Katie Gentle, then pinch-hitting for Nichols, would also strike out, ending the rally at 3-2.

Silkwood and State got the Jaguars in order again in the top of the 7th, but the Bulldogs couldn't plate any runs in the bottom frame. Echols and Toler were both walked but unfortunately the baserunners were stranded, as the Dogs couldn't get the runs they needed to extend, or win, the game.

The Jaguars turned to Kalen McGill to take the circle as their starter and she pitched 5 innings, giving up 4 hits, 3 walks, but only gave up 1 earned run. She was replaced by Farish Beard who threw 2 frames and got her first save of the season. For the Bulldogs, Silkwood threw a complete 7-inning game with 108 total pitches. She only gave up 4 hits, but the Jaguars were able to get 3 earned runs out. Alexis would also walk 4 Jaguars and only strike out 1. After the loss, her record is 22-10.

The Jaguars will return to Mobile, AL to play Texas State University in a 3 game series this weekend. MSU will host #12 Tennessee for Super Bulldog Weekend, kicking off the festivities with their game at 5:30 P.M. on Friday. They'll face the Vols on Saturday at 6:00 P.M. and at 1:00 P.M. on Sunday.