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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. â€“ With no hits through the first six innings, Mississippi State broke through with four hits and two runs in the top of the seventh inning to earn a 2-0 victory at No. 4 Tennessee on Friday night inside Lee Stadium.
Senior Sam Lenahan hit a one-out two-run home run off the scoreboard in left center to give Vann Stuedeman her 100th victory as the Bulldogsâ€™ head coach.
Mississippi State improves to 34-14 with the victory and 6-10 in the Southeastern Conference. The overall record is the best through 48 games in program history. The 34 wins are the most in the regular season for a Mississippi State club since tallying 40 in 2008.
The Bulldogs have won three-straight games against ranked teams for the first time since winning seven consecutive versus ranked foes from April 9â€“May 13, 2004.
Freshman Alexis Silkwood (11-5) picked up the win in the complete-game performance. She struck out 11 batters, tied for the third most in a Southeastern Conference game in program history. Silkwood allowed just three singles and walked a trio. Tennesseeâ€™s Ellen Renfroe (23-4) took the loss, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. She also fanned eight in the complete-game performance.
Each team had a base runner in the first inning as MSU senior Heidi Shape drew a one-out walk and Tennesseeâ€™s Madison Shipman picked up a two-out free pass. Two pop outs retired the Bulldogs and a strikeout ended the Lady Volsâ€™ first.
In the bottom of the second, Tennessee (35-7, 11-5 SEC) put two runners on but could not convert. Megan Geer led off with a single up the middle. After a foul out and pop out, Taylor Koenig was hit by a pitch to move Geer to second. Rainey Gaffin got ahead in the count 3-0, but Silkwood came all the way back for the inning-ending strikeout.
Mississippi State was retired in order in the second, third and fourth innings and tallied a leadoff base runner on in the top of the fifth, but could not convert. Lenahan led off with a walk and was replaced at first by redshirt freshman pinch runner Olivia Golden. A foul out on a bunt attempt and consecutive groundouts stranded Golden at second base.
The Lady Vols had a chance to break through in the bottom of the fifth with a two-out rally but couldn't score. Melissa Davin singled off the glove of leaping freshman third baseman Caroline Seitzâ€™s glove and stole second. Shipman walked to put runners on first and second, but Silkwood avoided trouble with a strikeout.
MSU recorded its first hit and scored the gameâ€™s only runs in the top of the seventh. Seitz led off with a single through the left side and was replaced at first by freshman Amanda Ivy. After a pop out, Lenahan homered off the scoreboard in left center for the two-run advantage. Junior Julia Echols followed with a single down the left-field line. Junior pinch hitter Ashley Phillips delivered an infield single with two outs, but a fielderâ€™s choice closed the frame.
Silkwood retired the Lady Vols in order in the bottom of the seventh to seal the victory.
The teams return to action Saturday with a 1 p.m. contest.