Mia Davidson was ready to come to the plate.
From the on-deck circle, she watched the Mississippi State softball team tie Friday’s game at South Carolina 7-7 with the fourth run of a furious late comeback on a Carter Spexarth sacrifice fly.
Then Davidson watched as the Gamecocks caught Chloe Malau’ulu between second and third, eventually tagging her out. The Bulldogs catcher frowned, then headed back to the dugout in a tie game, never getting her chance to put Mississippi State ahead.
It was a missed opportunity the Bulldogs almost immediately came to regret. In the bottom of the inning, South Carolina (25-20, 4-15 SEC) strung together two singles and a fielder’s choice to walk off with an 8-7 win over Mississippi State (25-22, 1-15) on Friday in Columbia, South Carolina.
The Bulldogs’ pitching one final time. Starter Emily Williams and reliever Alyssa Loza each allowed six hits in three innings pitched, and that was enough.
“We fought back,” Ricketts said. “They did what I asked them to do and won the freebie war, but we gave up 12 hits. It’s hard to win a game when you do that.”
The Bulldogs certainly tried their best. With the help of two errors, they put their first four batters on in the seventh, a frame they entered trailing 7-3. Montana Davidson’s fielder’s choice plated another run after she drove in the first three runs with a pair of homers.
Malau’ulu hit a one-out single, Fa Leilua walked, and Spexarth’s fly ball to center scored the tying run but turned into two outs when Malau’ulu tried to take third when the ball skipped away from third baseman Riley Blampied. The Gamecocks fielder recovered in time to catch Malau’ulu retreating to second and Leilua on her way there, resulting in an easy third out.
Katie Prebble made the Bulldogs pay with a walk-off hit off Loza to end the game.
Mississippi State and South Carolina will be back in action at 2 p.m. Saturday.