MSU shortstop Erin Nesbit had a solo home run for MSU in the fourth inning on Friday. (Photo by Michael Wardlaw, SDN)
The Mississippi State Bulldogs experienced something for the first time this softball season.
After winning their first five games, the Bulldogs lost a 5-4 decision to the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville Cougars at the MSU Softball Field on Friday.
The Bulldogs fell behind early to the Cougars and despite tying the game at 2-2 in the third inning, they could never get momentum going to take the lead.
"We just didn't get it done as a team so (today) we've got to come back out and keep grindin'," MSU shortstop Erin Nesbit said. "Everybody could have done something better. Hitting a home run was fun, but we couldn't string them together. We're hitting well so if we can string something together, that's going to make the difference in these games."
The Bulldogs were held to just eight hits offensively and also struggled in the circle as coach Vann Stuedeman was looking for some consistency.
Kylie Vry started the game for MSU and lasted only two innings, while Misty Flescher hurled one inning, Lindsey Dunlap pitched two frames and Stephanie Becker tossed two innings.
None of the pitchers used by Stuedeman were sharp as the staff walked eight batters combined and Vry hit a batter.
"We were having trouble finding the strike zone," Stuedeman said. "We did struggle a little bit in the circle, but we'll get back to the grindin' board, work on that and bring another game plan. They've pitched well until this point and it was just an off night. It happens to major leaguers. We'll get back to work and I have faith in all of them. That's just part of it.
"We've played good defense, we've pitched well and we've hit well, but not in all the same game so if we can get all three of those things together in the same game, things will fall our way a little more frequently."
SIU-Edwardsville scored one run in the first inning and one more in the second to take a 2-0 lead, then the Bulldogs tied the game in the bottom of the second on a two-run double by Ka'ili Smith.
The game didn't stay even long as the Cougars put up two more runs to take a 4-2 advantage and it was a deficit State didn't recover from.
The Bulldogs got one of the runs back on a solo home run by Nesbit in the fourth and picked up the final run in the seventh on an RBI double by Sam Lenahan after SIU-Edwardsville had gotten its fifth run in the top of the seventh.
Smith was the only MSU player with multiple hits, while Flesher was the losing pitcher with the one inning she worked.
One of the highlights for the Bulldogs and this area was that former East Webster player Swayze Hollenhead started at third base. She singled in the second inning and scored the first run of the game for MSU on Smith's double.
The Bulldogs get an opportunity to get back on the field today, weather permitting, when they play Mississippi Valley State at 3 p.m. and have a rematch with the Cougars at 5 p.m.
"The great thing about the sport of softball is it's not like football where you have to wait a whole week before you play again," Stuedeman said. "The positive thing is we can get right back out there (today) and get after it again. That's what you want to do after a disappointing game."
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