Bulldogs Tie Program’s NCAA Tournament Scoring Record In Shutout Victory
STILLWATER, Okla. – Mississippi State took control of its elimination game on Saturday night, scoring eight runs on six hits in the third inning of a 12-0 run-rule victory over Campbell.
MSU tied the program’s single-game scoring record in the NCAA Tournament, matching a 12-run effort against North Dakota State in 2018. Along the way, Fa Leilua, Mia Davidson, Carter Spexarth and Madisyn Kennedy all homered as the Bulldogs broke the program’s postseason single-game home run record.
“I really liked the way we came out. I thought the energy was great,” head coach Samantha Ricketts said. “They were very loose. I didn’t think they came out with any pressure of the elimination game. It was really great to see Aspen [Wesley] go back out there after she closed the Oklahoma State game for us and continue to use our bullpen. To play a long time over the weekend is going to take all of us, that includes the staff in the bullpen. Carter setting the tone with the opposite field home run after Chloe’s leadoff single was huge to help us relax and play our game.”
Chloe Malau’ulu was 2-for-3 with a walk out of the leadoff spot with three runs scored. Spexarth was 2-for-2 with four RBIs. Leilua, Kennedy and Christian Quinn all collected multiple RBIs in the game.
Defensively, Paige Cook made a diving catch on a liner to start a double play, and Malau’ulu teamed up with Kennedy and Mia Davidson to cut down a runner at the plate. The throw was Malau’ulu’s seventh outfield assist of the year, tying the MSU single-season record.
State’s pitching staff needed just 56 pitches in 5.0 innings. Aspen Wesley earned her fifth win of the year, and Grace Fagan pitched two perfect innings on just 17 pitches.
Chloe Malau’ulu on her day at the plate:
“I’m always just trying to get on base, being a leadoff. When you have Fa [Leilua], Carter [Spexarth], Mia [Davidson] right behind you, you get really excited and pumped up when it’s time for them. It’s really a team at-bat, team effort. I’m willing for them to get on and rooting for them.”
Chloe Malau’ulu on if the team felt any added pressure:
“Honestly, it didn’t really feel like this could have been our last game. We all just went out there like, ‘Hey, we still have tomorrow. It doesn’t feel like the end of the season.’ We just went out there and played our game. The pressure, not really thinking about it lets us play our game.”
Carter Spexarth on the team’s success at the plate:
“The biggest thing we’ve adjusted to is taking marginal pitches, not swinging at balls or the close strikes and attacking the pitcher. We’ve planned for them for the last week, so just taking the pitches that we know we need to swing at.”
Loving the Long Ball – State broke the program’s NCAA Tournament single-game record with four long balls on Saturday night … The previous record of three was set on May 20, 2018, at Arizona … MSU’s five home runs in the regional are second only to the 2018 Tuscon Regional when the Bulldogs hit six … State is now two home runs shy of the program’s single-season record (72, 2019) … The Bulldogs tied the school record for scoring in an NCAA Tournament game, matching the 12 runs State scored against North Dakota State on May 19, 2018.
Mia Davidson – Hit the 69th home run of her career, which moved her into sole possession of second in SEC history … Now trails only Florida’s Lauren Haeger (71) for the conference’s career record … Home run also gave her sole possession of State’s NCAA Tournament career record (3).
Grace Fagan – Threw 2.0 perfect innings in her first game action since April 20 against Jackson State.
Fa Leilua – Hit her 69th career home run and 20th of the year … Home run moved her into third place in MSU single-season history behind Mia Davidson’s record (26, 2019) and her own 2019 mark (22) … Is the only Bulldog in school history with multiple 20-homer seasons.
Madisyn Kennedy – Hit her first postseason home run.
Chloe Malau’ulu – Led off the ballgame with a single and scored … Has now reached base in 43.9 percent (43-of-98) of innings she’s led off and come around to score 23 times (53.5 percent) … MSU is now 21-6 when she reaches base to open a game … Was 2-for-3 in the game with a walk … Tied Iyhia McMichael’s single-season record with her seventh outfield assist of the year and second of the NCAA Tournament.
Carter Spexarth – Hit her first career NCAA Tournament home run … Added a two-run single for a career-high-tying four RBIs in the game.
Chloe Malau’ulu led off with a single up the middle. She scored when Carter Spexarth homered to right field. Mia Davidson followed with a solo home run of her own.
Mississippi State 3, Campbell 0
Malau’ulu led off with a single before Fa Leilua hit a two-run homer. With one out, Mia Davidson drew a walk. Following a fly out, Paige Cook also walked to put runners on first and second. Christian Quinn doubled off the left field wall to score Mia Davidson and Cook. Quinn scored when Madisyn Kennedy hit a two-run homer. Montana Davidson beat out an infield single, and Malau’ulu drew a walk. Leilua was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and a single from Spexarth scored Montana Davidson and Malau’ulu.
Mississippi State 11, Campbell 0
With one out, Addison Purvis drew a walk as a pinch hitter. Christian Quinn then hit a ground ball that the second baseman bobbled. Purvis attempted to advance to third and the throw was errant, allowing Purvis to come home.
Mississippi State 12, Campbell 0
Mississippi State is set for a rematch with No. 5 Oklahoma State on Sunday in the Stillwater Regional championship game. The Bulldogs will need to defeat the Cowgirls twice to advance to their first super regional in program history. Game 1 is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT on ESPN3.
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