Mississippi State (31-14, 9-10 SEC) started Super Bulldog Weekend off on a slightly sour note as they dropped game 1 of the series with #12 Tennessee (33-11, 9-7 SEC) by 1 run in a score of 4-3. The Lady Bulldogs were able to get 12 hits off of a very good Lady Vol pitching staff, but they stranded 14, which led to plating only 3 runs. Tennessee was slightly more efficient by scoring their 4 runs on 8 hits and 2 errors from MSU.
Although MSU was able to get the first hit of the series in the 1st inning, Tennessee got the first score of the weekend on a single home run shot into left field from Taylor Koenig. In fact, that’s pretty much how the first 4 innings of the game went, with MSU out hitting UT by a margin of 7 to 5 while being outscored by the Lady Vols 2-0.
MSU attempted a late inning comeback, something they’ve become known for the past few weeks of this season. In the bottom of the 5th, Alexis Silkwood drove Julia Echols in on a single RBI up the middle to bring the game to 2-1 in UT’s favor. In the bottom of the 6th, while the bases were loaded, Mackenzie Toler was walked, bringing in a run to tie the game. Unfortunately, State’s attempt at a rally fell short as an error in the top of the 7th while the Lady Vols had loaded the bases helped score 2 runs, and push the game ultimately out of reach. State’s one last shot at a comeback came in the final frame, as Erika Gaul got an RBI double on a powerful hit down the left field line. This brought the game to 4-3 but State failed to score again.
State turned to Alexis Silkwood, as she pitched yet another complete game. She threw an astonishing 152 pitches while giving up 8 hits and 4 runs, 3 of which were earned. Silkwood walked 5 batters and struck out 3. Her record is now 22-11. Tennessee put Rainey Gaffin in the circle to start and ultimately complete the game. She was relieved for the 6th inning by Cheyanne Tarango, but returned to pitch the 7th.
Prior to the game, senior 2nd baseman Julia Echols was awarded the Newsom Award, which is given to a student-athlete from each sport to recognize them for academic excellence. All of the student-athlete recipients will be recognized together as a group at the Mississippi State Maroon-White spring game at halftime.
State’s next game against Tennessee has been moved up to 3 P.M. today due to threat of inclement weather.