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Mississippi State shuts out Western Kentucky in Bulldog Slamboree Finale

In the final game of the Bulldog Slamboree, Mississippi State beat Western Kentucky 7-0

Kelly Price/

Mississippi State (16-3) controlled the entire game against Western Kentucky (8-10) as the Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead in Sunday's contest and never looked back. MSU would plate four runs in the first inning thanks to a slough of walks and opportunistic hitting. Katie Anne Bailey got things started for State with a double and was able to advance to third after Emily Heimberger grounded out. After a Kayla Winkfield bunt and steal to get two runners in scoring position with one out, Caroline Seitz was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Mackenzie Toler was then walked, bringing Bailey home to score.

Sarai Niu would then hit a sac fly, scoring Winkfield and advancing Toler to second and Seitz to third. With two runners in scoring position and two outs, Morgan Bell was walked with a wild pitch, allowing Seitz to score. With MSU having a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, Western Kentucky turned to Kathryn Downing to try and minimize damage. She would then walk Olivia Golden to load the bases once more for the Bulldogs and then hit Amanda Ivy with a pitch, bringing all nine batters through and giving MSU a 4-0 lead in the first inning.

MSU wouldn't score again until the fifth inning, but the fifth inning was very productive for the Bulldogs. After a Winkfield double, Seitz being hit by a pitch again, and a Toler walk, MSU had loaded the bases once more with not outs. Niu would then pop up to second base, but thanks to an error, Winkfield was able to scoot home and extend MSU's lead to 5-0. Morgan Bell would then reach base thanks to a fielder's choice, but nobody was out and Kat Moore, who was pinch running for Seitz, scored, giving MSU a 6-0 lead. A single up the middle by Golden would bring Carmen Carter, who was pinch running for Toler, home, bringing the lead to 7-0.

In Alexis Silkwood's (1-0) first start of the season, the junior struck out two batters in 2.0 innings of work. She was replaced by Cassady Knudsen after throwing 19 total pitches, 12 of which were strikes. Knudsen would then go on to strike out 7 in her 5.0 innings in the circle. Knudsen only gave up two hits and walked another batter. The stellar performance by the sophomore lowered her ERA from 3.15 to 2.29 on the season.

Hannah Parker (3-4) got the start for the visiting Hilltoppers but couldn't make it out of the first inning. Western Kentucky would then turn to Kathryn Downing who threw 3.1 innings before being replaced by Kelsey Jernigan who pitched the remainder of the game.

In the Bulldog Slamboree, Mississippi State went 4-1 and outscored their opponents 18-2. With the win, the Bulldogs move to 16-3 on the season. Mississippi State will return to action against Penn State at 6:00 on Tuesday.