March 9, 2012
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The No. 7 University of Georgia softball team dropped a 5-3 decision to Mississippi State in its Southeastern Conference opener on Friday evening in Starkville, Miss. Georgia falls to 19-3 on the year and 0-1 in SEC play, while MSU moves to 15-7 overall and 1-2 in the SEC.
Morgan Montemayor suffered the loss to drop to 8-2 on the season. She allowed five runs, three earned, on seven hits and five walks in six innings of work. She also struck out nine batters. Mississippi State’s Stephanie Becker improved to 8-2 on the year, allowing three runs on five hits in seven innings in the circle. She also struck out 10.
With the game scoreless, Mississippi State’s Jessica Cooley opened the bottom of the fourth with a single to center. Cooley scored one batter later on a Heidi Shape single up the middle that gave MSU a 1-0 lead. With two away, Shape made it a 2-0 game, scoring on a Jessica Offutt single to third.
The Athens Bulldog’s two-out prowess on the season continued in the top of the fifth, as Pauly worked a seven-pitch at bat that resulted in a game-tying two-run double to right center that scored Swafford and Olney. Olney got the inning started when she reached on an error by the shortstop. Swafford followed with a single to the circle that put runners at second and third. The duo moved into scoring position for Pauly’s double that made it a 2-2 game on an illegal pitch.
Mississippi State added three runs in the bottom of the fifth that made it a 5-2 game. Brittany Bell led off the inning with a triple to right field. With one away, Cooley drew a walk and stole second and brought Shape to the plate. Shape hit a two-run single to left field that made it a 4-2 game. Brittany Gates added a RBI-single with two outs that gave MSU a 5-2 lead.
The Bulldogs got a run back in the top of the sixth to make it a 5-3 game. With two outs, Goulder singled to left field and moved to second on a field error. One batter later, Olney drove in Goulder with a single up the middle that cut MSU’s lead to two runs. Georgia put a baserunner on in the top of the sixth, but was unable to score as Mississippi State went on to a 5-3 win.
Georgia and MSU will square off Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET.