Shape's homer gives Bulldogs softball victory
The latest Mississippi State win over Southern Mississippi took Shape on Wednesday afternoon.
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Freshman third baseman Heidi Shape hit a two-out, two-run home run in the sixth inning as the Bulldogs defeated the Golden Eagles 6-4 at the Mississippi State softball field.
After popping out on the infield twice and being called out on strikes in the second inning, Shape was happy to be able to come through in the clutch.
"I had been having a pretty rough game at the plate," Shape said. "I was hopefully optimistic that I could change everything around so I went up there aggressive and swung. It felt real good off the bat."
Shape began her Mississippi State career in impressive fashion as she had a pair of home runs and 12 runs batted in during the Sportco Kickoff Classic in Las Vegas.
The 12 RBI is the most for a Bulldog freshman player under coach Jay Miller.
"She's been coming through all year for us," Miller said. "As all freshmen, it's nice to see her have success like that. She's been under the weather the last couple of days and has about 101 temperature."
The game between MSU and USM was a back-and-forth encounter through the seven innings played.
A 1-0 lead the Golden Eagles took in the second inning didn't last long as the Bulldogs responded with a pair of runs in the second to go up 2-1. Ackerman native Chelsea Raines had a one-out single, Brittany Gates followed with a bunt single and Ali Bainbridge drove them both home with a double.
Southern Miss gained a 3-2 advantage with two runs on two hits in the third frame, but MSU answered with two runs and two hits of its own in the third to regain the lead at 4-3. Erin Nesbit drove home Kaili Smith with a single and Courtney Nesbit scored on an error.
The Golden Eagles got a solo home run from Leslie Lejune to tie the game in the fifth and there was no further scoring until Shape's third homer of the season down the rightfield line in the sixth for the deciding tally.
"It's nice to see her get a good swing on the ball and she did a great job adjusting," Miller said. "I was hoping it would stay fair and it did."
Shape has been enjoying being a part of some early season success for the Bulldogs and wants to continue contributing.
"It feels really good," Shape said. "Hopefully, I can keep it up and not just start out right now."
Gates had a double to go along with her bunt single to lead MSU's nine-hit attack, while Smith had a pair of singles.
Pitcher Kylie Vry benefitted from Shape's late blast to pick up the win and improved to 2-3 this season. She gave up two hits and one run with two walks and two strikeouts in 4.1 innings of relief.
Misty Flesher started the game for the Bulldogs by retiring the first four USM batters she faced, but ran into trouble during the middle innings.
"Misty was getting the ball up a little bit and I thought Kylie did a good job of coming in and shutting them down," Miller said. "Other than that one pitch, she pretty much took care of them and that's what we needed. It was a good pitching performance by both of them really and we got just enough runs to win."
MSU, which evened its record at 5-5, travels to Kennesaw, Ga., over the weekend for the Phyllis Rafter Memorial Invitational.