COLUMBIA, Mo. -- With a strong pitching performance and a six-run sixth, Mississippi State (31-11, 9-8 SEC) took Game 2 from No. 21 Missouri (25-10, 7-7 SEC) 8-4 on Saturday afternoon at University Field.
“What a great win today,” head coach Vann Stuedeman said. “Our entire pitching staff saw time and they found success and so did our batting order. We had seven different players collect a hit and Julia Echols go 5-for-5. It will be another dog fight tomorrow.”
Mackenzie Toler got the start in the circle and struck out the first three batters she faced to get in a groove early on. With help from the Bulldog defense, Toler kept the Tigers hitless through the first three innings.
In the top half of the fourth, Julia Echols lined a two-out single to left, scoring Erika Gaul from third and putting MSU ahead 1-0.
In relief of Toler, Cassady Knudsen entered in the fourth inning and tossed two shutout innings for the Bulldogs.
Looking to add insurance, State did just that in the sixth by loading the bases with one out. A walk by Caroline Seitz and a single from Toler each drove in a run, pushing the score to 3-0. A Mizzou error on a play at the dish made it 5-0 as two more Bulldogs came in to score.
After being robbed of a home run on Friday, Erika Gaul crushed a pitch so hard it could only be caught by fans in the bleacher seats as her two-run home run capped the six-run sixth and put her side ahead 7-0.
Mizzou closed the gap in the home half of the sixth as three hits and an error led to three runs, but it would get no closer as State added another run in the seventh.
In three shutout innings, Toler (2-1) recorded the win and struck out four in the process. Paige Lowary (11-3) suffered the loss as she surrendered the game’s first run and four hits in three innings of work.