STARKVILLE — Mississippi State”s softball team had an opportunity to answer with a good third inning after LSU put up a four-spot in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon.
Mississippi State scored one run when Ali Bainbridge was hit by a pitch with the bases-loaded and two outs, but ended up leaving three runners on base when Sammie Jo Bailey popped out to the catcher to end the inning.
Mississippi State coach Jay Miller said it was tough to see his clean-up hitter fail to get the job done in that situation.
“You have your four hole up and you need to drive in runs in those situations,” Miller said. “We just popped it up and didn”t get on top of the ball. It”s just a matter of a little execution that makes a difference.”
The Lady Bulldogs ended up leaving another runner on base in the fourth and two more in the fifth to suffer a 4-1 loss.
Mississippi State also left six runners on in the first game and was edged 5-4.
Mississippi State (14-14, 0-8 Southeastern Conference) could not solve LSU pitcher Brittany Mack (7-1), who got the win in both games of the twinbill.
Mississippi State freshman Lindsey Dunlap (6-8) started the second game and she only had the one bad inning in the third where she walked two batters and gave up four hits to the LSU (19-6, 6-2).
“She lost her composure a little bit and it put us in a hole,” Miller said. “It”s part of the things you run into when you have a freshman out (in the circle). I thought she bounced back, settled down and really threw well the rest of the game. One inning is the difference. That”s something young and inexperienced teams have to fight through.”
Chelsea Bramlett had two of the three singles for the Lady Bulldogs.
Despite not having a win in the conference to this point of the season, Bramlett believes it is just a matter of time before things start to click.
“I think we”re trying just a little bit too hard,” Bramlett said. “Once we get confidence, we”ll be all right.
“We”ll know it will come around sometime. We don”t start off easy with Alabama, LSU and even Arkansas wasn”t a bad team.”
n LSU 5, MSU 4: A solo home run by Jessica Mouse in the seventh inning was the difference for the Lady Tigers in the first game.
Kaili Smith tied the game for MSU with a two-run double in the sixth to score Bainbridge and Bailey, but she was left at third base. The Lady Bulldogs also left the tying and winning runs on base in the seventh after Mouse hit her homer.
“(Smith) had some big hits to drive in runs, but we left a lot of other runners out there,” Miller said. “We give ourselves an opportunity and some chances, but we”ve got to deliver on those to pick up the win.”
Bramlett had a triple and a single, while Smith had a double and a single for four of MSU”s eight hits.
Kelsy Nurnberg (8-4) only gave up five runs on six hits for the Bulldogs, but like Dunlap in the second game, gave up four runs in the third.
Mississippi State and LSU conclude the three-game series at 1 p.m. today in Starkville.