ATHENS, Ga. - Seventh-ranked Georgia fell to Mississippi State, 8-6, in the opening game of a Southeastern Conference series between the schools at Jack Turner Stadium on Friday night in front of a crowd of 1,076.
Mississippi State (24-29, 10-16 SEC) scored four runs in the second and held off a comeback attempt from Georgia (42-10, 15-9 SEC) for the win.
Both teams utilized three pitchers on Friday. For MSU, starter Kylie Vry did not factor into the decision while Misty Flesher (8-6) worked 2.1 innings for the win and Stephanie Becker entered in a one-run ball game and worked 2.2 innings for her first save of the season. Georgia sophomore starter Alison Owen (15-4) went 1.2 innings allowing four runs, two earned, and took the loss while junior Erin Arevalo worked 3.0 innings and freshman Morgan Montemayor tossed the final 2.1 innings.
MSU's first two runs in the four-run second came on a two-run home run from Sam Lenahan down the left field line. After two outs, the inning was extended by a Bulldog error that allowed Briana Bell to reach. Brittany Gates followed with a single moving Bell to third which set up an RBI single to left from Ali Bainbridge that ended the day for Owen. After Arevalo entered, Heidi Shaped added a run-scoring single to center before the frame came to a close.
In the bottom of the second, UGA cut the score to 4-2. Junior Kristyn Sandberg reached on a two-out dropped fly ball to center. Next, junior Brittney Hubbard and senior Laura Trout picked up an RBI apiece on a double and single, respectively.
Mississippi State got those two runs back with single runs in the fourth and the fifth. In the fourth, Kaili Smith provided an RBI double to right, and in the fifth, Chelsea Raines doubled with two outs and came around to score when Bell reached on an error.
In the fifth, Alisa Goler pulled Georgia to within one at 6-5 with a three-run home run to right center. It was Goler's team-lead 16th home run of the season and it raised her UGA career record to 58. Additionally, the home run was Goler's 110th career extra-base hit tying her for the UGA career record with Kim Wendland (2002-05). Becker entered to pitch after the home run and got MSU out of the inning.
MSU pulled back head by three runs in the top of the seventh. After Jessica Cooley reached second on a two-out error, Raines doubled in the first run of the frame on ball hit off the wall in right. Another UGA error in the inning allowed Belll to reach base again and Raines to come around to score and make it 8-5.
In the bottom of the seventh, senior Taylor Schlopy was hit by a pitch and senior Megan Wiggins followed with a RBI double to right center, but it proved to be Georgia's only run as the comeback attempt came up short. For Wiggins, the double moved her into a tie with Goler and Wendland for the UGA all-time extra-base hits record at 110.
Georgia and Mississippi State return to Jack Turner Stadium for game two of the series on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET and admission is free. Saturday's game will be luau day at UGA with the first 250 kids eighth grand and under receiving a pucker fish Webkinz and all fans receiving lei's while supplies last. Fans will also be able to receive free samples of Smoothie King.
Prior to Saturday's contest, Georgia will hold its senior day honoring the eight seniors on this year's squad: Jennie Auger, Goler, Brianna Hesson, Sarah McCloud, Katie Murphy, Trout, Schlopy and Wiggins.