STARKVILLE, Miss. – South Carolina (29-20, 6-14 SEC) recorded a three-run fifth inning to pick up a 3-0 victory against Mississippi State (30-18, 7-13 SEC) Saturday afternoon at the MSU Softball Stadium. The Bulldogs will look to avoid the sweep in the final home game of the season Sunday at 1 p.m. as part of Senior Day festivities.
"In this league, you just cannot take one pitch off," Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. "Any team can be great at any time. That is what is so great about college softball right now."
After giving up a leadoff single to start the game, MSU junior right-hander Alison Owen retired 12-straight batters before running into trouble in the top of the fifth. Carolina's Kristen Struett led off the frame with a single to left field, and just like Friday, the Gamecocks scored the first two runs of the game on a two-strike home run. The two-run USC lead provided by Ashlyn Masters was extended to three when Samie Garcia recorded a two-out RBI double to the gap in left field. The run came after a costly error by the MSU defense, which extended the inning.
Owen finished the game with eight strikeouts and zero walks, but fell to 15-9 on the season with the loss. It was the Gamecocks' Audrey Broyles who picked up the win, improving to 9-8 with the complete-game shutout.
For the second-straight day, junior second baseman Heidi Shape led the way offensively for State, finishing 1-for-3 with a walk. Junior Logan Foulks (1-for-3) and freshman Loryn NIchols (1-for-2) made up the rest of the hit total for the Maroon and White.
Admission is free for Sunday's finale, but for those who cannot attend, free live audio as well as video will be available online to HailStateTV subscribers (www.HailState.com/hstvlive). For live in-game updates of the series, follow the program on Twitter at @MStateSB. For pictures, like the team on Facebook at Facebook.com/MStateSB and visit the team's Instagram account at MStateSB. For pregame and postgame video, check out MSU's official YouTube channel at YouTube.com/HailState.
TRACK & FIELD
PHILADELPHIA, Penn. – Concluding the largest and oldest track meet in the country, Mississippi State track and field wrapped up day three of the 119th Penn Relays by earning all Top 5 finishes, including one which broke a 3-year-old school record.
"We proved that we belong among the premier athletes," MSU coach Steve Dudley said. "Our athletes gave it their all. They left everything on the track, and I am proud of their efforts today."
In front of a crowd of 48, 871 fans, Lady Bulldogs Ocian Archer, Jody-Ann Muir, Ste'yce McNeil and Erica Bougard finished second in the women's 4x400-meter relay college competition on Saturday at Franklin Field. Their time of 3:34.88 was not only the quartet's best race of the season, but broke a school record previously set in 2010 (3:36.43). The women's performance placed MSU ahead of Southeastern Conference foes Kentucky and South Carolina in the event.
MSU field athletes also excelled on the final day of action as Marcus Jackson cleared 7-02.50 in the high jump to garner a second-place finish. Jackson, who entered the competition as the third-ranked high jumper in the NCAA, finished only behind 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Derek Drouin of Indiana.
Earlier in the day, newcomer Piotr Antosik threw the javelin for 221-08.00 to land a spot in third, while Jason Harper leaped 50-06.00 in the triple jump to finish fifth. Antosik's score was a personal-best and will place him third on MSU's all-time list.
"Overall, we had a successful showing this year at the Penn Relays," Dudley said. "Now it is time to put the regular season behind us. We have got to set our focus on championship season and continuing to qualify for the NCAAs."
Dudley's team will have a two-week break before it heads to Columbia, Mo., for the 2013 SEC Outdoor Championships hosted by Missouri on May 9-12.
For more information on MSU track and field, follow the team on Twitter (@msutracksarah).