Senior Day for Mississippi State softball sent the Bulldog seniors out with a pair of wins over Tennessee Tech on Saturday afternoon.
Seniors Misty Flesher and Lindsey Dunlap picked up the 6-2 and 5-1 victories in their final outing on the Mississippi State campus.
“I’m just thrilled that Misty Flesher and Lindsey Dunlap got the wins,” said MSU softball coach Vann Stuedeman. “That’s big for them to win their final game in front of a home crowd.”
The Bulldogs (32-19) opened with a sluggish start in game one of the twinbill due to the emotions and distractions of the day.
“It is always hard to perform on senior day,” said Stuedeman. “They have family members come in from all over. It is fun but you’re a little bit nervous because they put all that pressure on themselves to perform in front of their friends and family.”
The nerves quickly settled and after falling behind 1-0, the Bulldogs erupted for five runs in the second inning thanks to a bases-clearing three-run triple from center fielder Jessica Offutt.
Game two was more of the same as State jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and never looked back. It was sophomore Heidi Shape who delivered a two-run, two-out double in the first inning that sparked State’s victory.
“This whole group has just bought into each other,” Stuedeman explained. “They trust and believe in each other. They’ve made a commitment and they sacrifice for each other and it is showing.”
The pair of wins improved State to 13-2 in the month of April and winners of 13 of its last 14 games. While it seems the Bulldogs are on a hot streak, the team will quickly explain it was just part of the plan.
“We made a commitment in March that the late season was going to be our season,” Stuedeman said. “We were going to work extra hard in the months of April and May to end this year the way we all wanted to. They’ve just done it. They’ve put in the time and the sacrifice and we’ve got to continue to finish strong.”
State will now turn their attention to the Auburn Tigers and the regular season finale on the Plains. A strong finish is what the Bulldogs are looking for as they head into postseason play.
“A good finish is extremely important,” said Stuedeman. “When you get into that regional, you just never know.”