COLLEGE STATION, Texas ? After falling behind 5-0 entering the last inning, Mississippi State rallied to put the tying run at the plate, but eventually fell short in a 5-2 loss at No. 14 Texas A&M Friday night at the Aggie Softball Complex. State fell to 31-20 overall in the battle of maroon and white, while the No. 14 Aggies improved to 37-14 this season.
The Bulldogs dropped to 7-15 in conference play, but still remain tied for the 10th and final spot in next week's SEC Tournament thanks to a 5-0 loss by South Carolina to Florida at home and a 6-0 win by Arkansas at home vs. Auburn. South Carolina owns the tiebreaker vs. both MSU and Auburn, while the Tigers own the tiebreaker against the Bulldogs.
Both teams wearing maroon and white played scoreless softball till the bottom of the fourth, when A&M three-hole hitter Amber Garza led off the frame with a single down the line in right. Cleanup hitter Cali Lanphear joined her on the base paths after being hit by a pitch, before both runners advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt by Nicole Morgan.
With runners on second and third and one out, the Aggies' Cassie Tysarczyk executed a suicide squeeze bunt, scoring Garza. Mississippi State's Sam Lenahan couldn't handle the throw home by first baseman Shelby Fisher, causing the ball to go to the backstop and allowing Lanphear to also tap the dish.
After a lineout to third base for the second out and a walk to Mel Dumezich, A&M's Emily Albus dropped another bunt in front of the Bulldog catcher. Lenahan's throw to first to catch the speedy Albus sailed into right field, scoring Tysarczyk.
Tysarczyk did more damage in the bottom of the fifth, driving a two-out, two-RBI double to opposite field in left center, giving the Aggies a 5-0 lead.
Redshirt junior shortstop Erin Nesbit scored MSU's only two runs of the game with one out in the top of the seventh with a two-run home run to left. State had the tying run at the plate to end the game.
Dumezich picked up her 25th win of the season for the home team (25-6), tossing a shutout in her 19th game of the season. State lefty Stephanie Becker suffered the loss, falling to 10-8 after yielding five runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks to the Aggies. The stat line was not indicative of the southpaw's performance; the senior limited the nation's number two home-run hitting team to zero long balls.
Starkville's Team will look to tie the series with a 4 p.m. first pitch Saturday. Live HD video streaming of the game will be available to HailStateTV subscribers (via a shared production from Texas A&M). Of course, free live audio streaming will be provided through HSTV as usual, featuring MSU play-by-play caller Anthony Craven.
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.