Published 12:00 am Friday, March 20, 2015

Mississippi State’s Amanda Ivy (second from right) of Batesville congradulates teammate Julia Echols on a run against Texas A&M this weekend. Ivy was responsible for a grand slam homerun Saturday against the Aggies, a walk-off two run homer Sunday and eight RBIs (runs batted in) for the weekend. The Lady Bulldogs will play the Ole Miss Lady Rebels in Oxford next weekend, March 20-22. Games are slated for 6 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday. Photo courtesy Mississippi State softball

Ivy’s grand slam and walkoff HR powers Miss. State past Texas A&M in SEC series

By Andrew Piper
MSU Sports Information
STARKVILLE – With its backs against the wall on what head coach Vann Stuedeman calls “Toughness Sunday,” the Mississippi State softball team (20-6, 3-3 SEC) used a four-run seventh inning to claim a 7-5 walk-off win over No. 19 Texas A&M (21-7, 3-3 SEC), Sunday at the MSU Softball Field.

The Bulldogs clinched their first Southeastern Conference series win of the season and now sit at 4-4 on the season against top 25 opponents.

State responded to a two-run top of the third from the Aggies by tallying a run of its own. With the bases loaded, sophomore Mackenzie Toler launched a sacrifice fly to left-center field pushing sophomore catcher Katie Anne Bailey home. The score after three innings was 2-1, TAMU.

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After the teams traded runs in the fourth inning, senior Ashley Phillips scored on an error, and the game was knotted up at three after five innings.

The Aggies got back on top with two runs in the sixth, bringing the count to 5-3, but the game was far from over.

Senior Erica Gaul started the rally with a one-out double off the left field wall. Sophomore pitcher Alexis Silkwood launched a homer over the right-field fence to even the score at five and send the fans in attendance into a frenzy.

With junior Kayla Winkfield having reached base on a bunt single, sophomore Amanda Ivy stepped to the plate with two outs and sent a ball off the scoreboard in left field, ending the game and lifting her side to a 7-5 walk-off triumph.

Silkwood (15-4) earned the win for the Bulldogs in a complete-game effort. She gave up 5 runs, all earned, on six hits. She struck out six batters and walked six as well.

 Aggie pitcher Lauren Ainsley (1-2) took the loss for the Aggies in 0.1 innings of relief. She surrendered two runs on Ivy’s walk-off winner after the game was tied.

Coming off Friday night’s victory over No. 19 Texas A&M (21-6, 3-2 SEC), Mississippi State softball (19-6, 2-3 SEC) looked to clinch the series in Saturday’s matchup, but ultimately fell, 10-8, after a late rally.

After surrendering two runs to the Aggies in the top of the first, State answered with seven runs of their own. Sophomore Katie Anne Bailey and senior Julia Echols started the inning for the Bulldogs with back-to-back triples. Following RBIs from senior Erica Gaul and freshman Calyn Adams, sophomore Ivy smashed a grand slam over the right-center field wall. After one, MSU led 7-2.

The next matchup for the Bulldogs is Tuesday, March 17 at Southeastern Louisiana Lions with first pitch set for 5 p.m. CT.

The Lady Bulldogs will play the Ole Miss Lady Rebels in Oxford this weekend, March 20-22. Games are slated for 6 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.