[su_spacer size=”20″] The No. 8/8 Georgia softball team suffered an 8-7 loss to Mississippi State in extra innings in the series finale on Sunday, March 8 at the MSU Softball Stadium in Starkville, Miss. With the loss, Georgia falls to 21-3 on the year and 2-1 in Southeastern Conference play. MSU is now 18-5 on the year and 1-2 in the SEC. Georgia took the series after winning the first two games. It was the first extra inning game for the Bulldogs this season.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Cortni Emanuel was strong at the plate, going 4-for-5 with two runs scored, a RBI and two stolen bases. Alex Hugo brought the big bat for Georgia, blasting a three-run home run in the first inning. Paige Wilson drove in two, while Sydni Emanuel was 1-for-1 with three walks.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Chelsea Wilkinson suffered just her third loss of the season. She allowed eight runs, six earned, on 12 hits and four walks. She also struck out five. Alexis Silkwood got the win to improve to 13-3 on the year. She allowed seven runs, six earned, on 10 hits and seven walks. She also struck out seven batters.
[su_spacer size=”40″] It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to put runs on the board. After a single and fielder’s choice put runners at the corner, Hugo stepped up and blasted her seventh home run of the season deep over the scoreboard in left field that put Georgia up 3-0.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Georgia tacked on a run in the top of the second inning to increase its lead to 4-0. After two quick outs, Samantha LaZear reached on a walk and then stole second. C. Emanuel then found a hole on the right side for a RBI single that drove in LaZear.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Mississippi State tied the game in the bottom of the third inning. With two on and one away, Caroline Seitz doubled off the fence in left center that scored two to cut the lead to 4-2. Mackenzie Toler followed with a single up the middle that cut the Georgia lead to one a 4-3. MSU scored its final run on a misplayed ball in left that tied the game at 4-4.
[su_spacer size=”40″] The Bulldogs retook the lead in the top of the fifth inning. S.Emanuel walked for the third time in the game and then stole second. Wilson looked to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but the ball popped out of the first baseman’s glove on the throw, allowing her to reach on the error. S. Emanuel read the play perfectly and was able to race home to give Georgia the 5-4 lead.
[su_spacer size=”40″] MSU responded with a run in the bottom of the fifth that tied the game at 5-5.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Georgia answered with two runs in the top of the sixth inning that allowed the Bulldogs to take a 7-5 lead. With the leadoff runner aboard by way of a walk, C. Emanuel reached and moved the batter with a two-out bunt single. With runners at the corners, S. Emanuel laced a pitch up the middle that scored Kaylee Puailoa and gave Georgia a 6-5 lead. Wilson followed with a single through the hole on the right side, allowing C. Emanuel to race home and score the seventh run of the game.
[su_spacer size=”40″] The drama continued in the seventh inning, as Mississippi State tied the game at 7-7 on a two-out, two-run triple. Wilkinson struck out the final batter of the inning to send the game into extras.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Mississippi State avoided the series sweep in the bottom of the ninth inning on a walk-off home run by Katie Anne Bailey.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Georgia returns to action on Tuesday, March 10 when it steps out of conference to host Savannah State in a doubleheader that is set to begin at 2 p.m., at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Ga. The Bulldogs will then host No. 5/4 Alabama in a three-game SEC series that is set to begin on Friday, March 13 at 6 p.m.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Photo credit: Sean Taylor