Mississippi State Falls In Winner’s Bracket Matchup With No. 5 Oklahoma State
STILLWATER, Okla. – Mississippi State’s softball program led through two and a half innings on Saturday, but a five-run bottom of the third proved to be the difference in a 9-3 loss to No. 5 Oklahoma State.
The Bulldogs (34-24) opened the scoring on a solo home run from Fa Leilua. The Cowgirls (44-9) tied the game in the bottom of the inning, but Leilua would score again in the top of the third to regain the lead.
In the bottom of the third, however, Oklahoma State scored five runs on five hits. A leadoff home run tied the ballgame before a single and a double gave OSU the lead for good. Another double plated two more runs later in the frame.
“I think we ran into a great team out there,” head coach Samantha Ricketts said. “I really liked the at-bats we put together off of [Carrie] Eberle. She’s the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year for a reason, but we made her throw 130 pitches up and down the lineup. I think we just needed that big knock-out punch, leaving the bases loaded twice.”
In the fourth, three singles and a double scored three more runs for OSU. Christian Quinn doubled to open the sixth and later scored from third on Chloe Malau’ulu’s infield single to result in the final score.
Samantha Ricketts on Oklahoma State’s third inning rally:
“You’re right on the head there with the momentum. This game is so much more than just balls and strikes and home runs and strikeouts. It’s really about how quickly can you get the momentum back in your dugout after either team scores or has a big inning. We were able to pull ahead in the top of the third, and they came right back out, like great teams do, and answered that with a five-spot. We need to find a way to shrink that down, so we’re not giving up so many there in the bottom of the third. It was definitely a big momentum shift in this game for us.”
Christian Quinn on the third inning:
“I agree. We had a huge momentum shift right there. We were ready to attack, but their defense made some really good plays on some balls and it didn’t fall through. It was really going in our favor, but some things don’t work out like that. That’s okay. It’s how you bounce back, and that’s what we have to do.”
Christian Quinn on her day at the plate:
“I was just trying to stay relaxed and stay calm. We had been preparing for her for a while. I just knew that it was really loud at the stadium, and they were going to be yelling at my ear. But if I just stayed calm and battled pitches, I knew that I was going to get on base. I was just telling myself I was going to get on base. That’s really what my perspective on it was.”
Paige Cook – Picked up her first career postseason RBI with a groundout.
Mia Davidson – Singled to extend her reached-base streak to 18 games, which is one shy of her career-long streak.
Fa Leilua – Hit a solo home run in the first inning … Home run was the first of her career in the NCAA Tournament … Scored both of State’s runs.
Jackie McKenna – Collected her third outfield assist of the year … MSU’s outfielders have now thrown out 14 runners this season.
Christian Quinn – Went 1-for-1 with a double and two walks … Scored a run.
Aspen Wesley – Pitched 2.0 scoreless innings allowing two hits … Struck out a pair.
Fa Leilua hit a solo home run to left field with one out.
Mississippi State 1, Oklahoma State 0
With one out, Cheyenne Factor and Alysen Febrey hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and third. Hayley Busby beat out a ground ball to third base as Factor scored.
Mississippi State 1, Oklahoma State 1
Leilua reached on a dropped fly ball to open the inning. Carter Spexarth and Mia Davidson added singles behind her to load the bases. Allison Florian pinch ran for Spexarth at second base. Paige Cook grounded out to second base to score Leilua from third.
Mississippi State 2, Oklahoma State 1
Kiley Naomi hit a leadoff home run down the left field line. Factor singled up the middle, and Febrey doubled into the right-center gap to score her from first. Febrey tagged up and took third on Busby’s fly out to deep left field. Sydney Pennington lined a ball past the first baseman for a base hit to score Febrey. Karli Petty walked before Reagan Wright hit a two-run double to center field.
Mississippi State 2, Oklahoma State 6
Naomi led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Factor. Febrey doubled down the right field line to score Naomi. Busby singled into left field and advanced to second on the throw home while Febrey held up at third. A Pennington single scored both runners before she was thrown out trying to stretch for a double.
Mississippi State 2, Oklahoma State 9
Christian Quinn doubled on the first pitch of the inning. She advanced to third on a groundout from Montana Davidson. Chloe Malau’ulu beat out a ground ball to the diving shortstop that scored Quinn.
Mississippi State 3, Oklahoma State 9
Mississippi State will return to the field at approximately 6 p.m. CT to play the winner of the Campbell-Boston University elimination game. A victory in that contest would set up a Sunday afternoon rematch with the Cowgirls.
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