Becker & Vry Combine To Dominate Arkansas In Doubleheader Sweep
Ark. – Good Friday turned into a great Friday at Bogle Park as the
Mississippi State softball team (21-18, 5-13 SEC) swept host Arkansas
(18-18, 2-14 SEC) in an afternoon doubleheader. The Bulldogs defeated
the Razorbacks in the first game of the three-game series, 2-1, before
clinching the series with a 7-2 triumph in game two.
we can earn wins on the road in this conference, it says a lot about
the heart and grit of these Bulldogs,” Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said.
“We played two quality games today, including having our backs against
the wall in the first matchup. I am super proud of our ballclub.”
left-handed pitchers Stephanie Becker and Kylie Vry combined to throw
two complete-game three-hitters, striking out 17 total batters en route
to just three Arkansas runs Friday. State’s defense was flawless,
playing errorless softball for the fourth time in the past five
contests. Arkansas’ defense on the other hand committed five errors on
the day, with six of the nine runs being scored off its pitching being
In the first half of the doubleheader, sophomore
center fielder Jessica Offutt knocked out a career-high tying three
hits with her family in the stands, including a run scored. Redshirt
senior designated player Brittany Bell went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a
run, while junior left fielder Jessica Cooley drove in a run as well.
dominated in the circle for the Maroon and White in the first game,
pitching her second complete-game three hitter in conference play. The
6-footer surrendered just one run, a solo shot by Arkansas left fielder
Jennifer Rambo in the second inning. The Bulldogs trailed by a run for
most of the game, but Becker kept her squad in the game by retiring
nine-consecutive batters starting in the bottom of the third.
the Maroon and White down one in the top of the sixth, the Bulldogs
flipped a switch in the late innings. Offutt started off the stanza
with a base hit to right field. Bell then stepped up to the plate and
blooped a single to shallow center. Both Arkansas’ center fielder and
second baseman tried to make a play on the ball, but couldn’t, as
Offutt broke for third. Razorback shortstop Clarisa Navarro picked up
the ball and hurled it to third, but threw it well over her teammate’s
head, allowing Offutt to tap the dish for the tying run. With Bell
advancing to third in all of the chaos, she scored the game-winning run
after Cooley drove her in with a first-pitch groundout to Navarro at
Arkansas threatened one last time in the bottom of the
seventh, which started with Rambo reaching after being hit by a pitch.
Arkansas outfielder Sierra Bronkey moved the tying run over to third
with a no-out pinch-hit double, putting the game-winning run on second.
Becker battled forward with two back-to-back popouts, before loading
the bases with a walk. With the tying run on third and the winning run
on second, Becker forced Navarro to groundout to second, giving MSU its
fourth win in conference play.
The Razorbacks responded to the
game one loss by plating a pair in the first inning of game two. After
a scoreless second, the Bulldogs barked back with three runs in the
third thanks to a trio of home miscues. Bully bedlam started when
senior right fielder Brittany Gates drew her second walk of the day to
begin the frame. In the leadoff spot for the first time in 2012, Bell
reached first on a bunt single. In attempting to field the throw at
first, Arkansas second baseman Maddie Reese failed to catch it
properly, as the ball dribbled to right field and Gates moved to third.
Bell then stole second as Razorbacks’ catcher Jayme Gee threw it to
Navarro at short in order to catch Gates bolting for home. The throw to
Navarro sailed into left field, allowing Gates to score as Bell trotted
With the Arkansas lead cut in half at 2-1, senior
Ka’ili Smith earned a base on balls for State. Runners stood at the
corners for sophomore Sam Lenahan, who executed a perfect suicide
squeeze. Bell scored easily as Arkansas pitcher Chelsea Cohen threw it
to first. The throw went above the first baseman’s head and into the
MSU bullpen, allowing Smith to also score for the visitors’ third run
of game two.
The Bulldogs added another run to their lead in the
top of the fifth. Smith and Lenahan hit back-to-back singles to left
field with one out. After a popup to shortstop by Cooley, Shape
grounded it to second with two outs, but reached after Reese bobbled it
and threw it away over the first baseman’s head. The error allowed
Smith to run across home to make it a 4-2 advantage in favor of the
Maroon and White.
Not willing to let up, MSU added three insurance runs in the seventh to give the game its final score of 7-2.
had improved to an even 6-6 in 2012 with her best outing since a
complete-game two-hitter at South Carolina on March 13. The southpaw
from Iowa tossed complete-game three-hitter that saw her give up two
runs on two to the first three batters, before giving up just one hit
the rest of the game. After fanning nine batters total in her previous
seven outings, Vry struck out a season-high 11 Friday.
first time in the leadoff spot this year, Bell went 2-for-4 with a run
scored in game two. Smith also had a nice second half of the
doubleheader, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a career-high tying three
runs scored. Freshman third baseman Courtney Vanlandingham made her
third start as a college softball player, cranking out her first career
double for the Maroon and White.