Samantha Ricketts could not have asked for a better debut as a head coach. In the first game of the Ricketts era of Mississippi State softball, the Bulldogs snagged a solid 5-0 win over Missouri State in the NFCA Leadoff Challenge.
With two outs in the second inning, Chloe Malau’ulu got the scoring started for MSU by hitting a solo home run, giving State an early 1-0 lead.
Mississippi State added on to that lead one inning later with an explosion in the third inning. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Fa Leilua hit a double, bringing two runs home and stretching MSU’s lead out to 3-0.
After a Missouri State pitching change, Carter Spexarth put another run on the scoreboard with a RBI single. Montana Davidson then flew out to right field, giving State an insurmountable lead of 5-0.
Junior pitcher Annie Willis started the game and faced 18 batters in 5.0 innings. Willis struck out 7, kept Missouri State off the scoreboard, and earned the win for the Bulldogs. Emily Williams came in for two innings of relief and closed the game out, striking three batters out in the process.
Ricketts and Mississippi State return to action at 5 p.m. Central Time as the Bulldogs will face off against Team USA in an exhibition game. MSU’s next real matchup is Saturday at 11:30 a.m. against Liberty.
All stats via hailstate.com.