No. 23 Mississippi State starter Regan Green rebounded from a loss to Baylor Saturday night to throw a complete game shutout to lead the Bulldogs to a 3-0 win over McNeese State Sunday at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic at the Gulfport Sportsplex.
Mississippi State (12-2) scored their first run of the game on a confusing sequence that included heads up base running in the third inning. Katie Anne Bailey singled to lead off the inning, and she advanced to second on a wild pitch. A groundout to second by Emily Heimberger moved Bailey to third. Kayla Winkfield then drew a walk, and Bailey started to break for home. The throw back to third did not get Bailey out, and Winkfield hustled to second, beating a throw there. Bailey scored on the throw to second, and Winkfield advanced to third as the Cowgirls tried to get Bailey at home.
Winkfield then scored on an RBI single by Mackenzie Toler to put the Bulldogs ahead 2-0 in the top of the third.
McNeese State (10-3) threatened to tie of the game in the bottom of the third, when Hailey Drew singled with two out, but she was thrown out stealing at third to end the inning after she had advanced to second on a walk by Marise Taunton.
In the fourth the Cowgirls got two runners on base, but again the Bulldogs escaped trouble, thank in part to a catch by Kat Moore that might have gone for a home run.
"(Kat) did amazing out there catching it," said Green.
The Cowgirls had the tying runs on in the fifth, but again Green got out of the jam, forcing fly ball outs to first and to left field to end the inning.
Toler added to the Mississippi State lead with an RBI single that scored Heimberger in the top of the seventh to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.
The Cowgirls made a final push in the bottom of the seventh, using a leadoff error and a one-out walk to bring the tying run to the plate. However, Green shut down the top two batters in the Cowgirl order, Marise Taunton and All-American Erika Piancastelli to close out the win.
"My heart was pumping. I was a little nervous, but I knew my defense would have my back," said Green. "I knew that if I could get it on the ground for them, they would make the plays, and we would be good."
Green (3-1) struck out 5 and scattered 4 hits in the contest.
Winkfield and Toler led the Bulldogs with three hits, all singles. Toler also picked up two RBIs for the Bulldogs.
Jolie Trahan (1-1) took the loss for McNeese State.
The win avenged an Friday night loss by Mississippi State to the Cowgirls.
"It was a big deal for us to come out this morning and really play a good game after Friday, playing pretty poorly," said Mississippi State coach Vann Stuedeman. "Toughness Sunday always plays into effect. It's the last game of the weekend, and we had to bring our A-game to play a very good McNeese State team."
Mississippi State returns to action Friday at 6pm against Chattanooga as part of five games for Mississippi State in the Bulldog Slamboree this weekend.