After most of the students packed up and went home for the summer, or moved on in life after graduating, Vann Stuedeman's team stayed put in Starkville and earned their final win of the regular season yesterday. Mississippi State (26-30, 3-17 SEC) went out and earned a dominant win over Alcorn State (15-26, 10-6 SWAC). The Bulldogs won the contest 8-0 in five innings, in which sophomore Cassady Knudsen threw a no-hitter.
As they have all season, Vann Stuedeman's Bulldogs scored in bursts again yesterday, tacking on 4 runs in the bottom of the first. After a one out single and a stolen base by freshman Emily Heimberger, star senior Kayla Winkfield would get a single of her own, giving Mississippi State runners at the corners. A foul out to the catcher would set Mackenzie Toler up with two on and two out, and she would respond with a 2 RBI double to left center field.
With a 2-0 lead and two outs, Calyn Adams would then get a single of her own, but both baserunners would end up in scoring position thanks to a throwing error. Sarai Niu's single would bring Toler home to stretch the early lead to 3-0, and Katie Anne Bailey would then drive home another run with a base hit of her own.
The Bulldogs would be held scoreless for the next two frames, but would score four runs again in the bottom of the fourth inning. After senior Loryn Nichols got on base with a bunt and stole second base, Heimberger would give Winkfield two runners in scoring position after a single and stolen second base of her own. Winkfield would respond to having two on and no outs with a 2 RBI single, and then steal second herself, giving Mississippi State a 6-0 lead.
With one on and no outs, Caroline Seitz would then hit a home run, her team leading fifth of the season. The two run shot to left field would give Cassady Knudsen an 8-0 cushion heading into the top of the fifth. Knudsen would respond by striking two out in the inning to end the game.
Knudsen improved to 4-1 on the year with her dynamic performance yesterday, as she threw 81 pitches and struck out 8 of the 19 batters she faced in 5.0 innings of work. Knudsen's no-hitter is the 18th no-hitter in Mississippi State's history.
The Bulldogs will return to action against Alabama tomorrow night at 6:30 at Nusz Park in the fourth game of the SEC Tournament, which is being hosted here in Starkville.