PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico - Sacramento State built an early 4-1 lead against 25th-ranked Mississippi State, but could not make the advantage hold in an 8-5 loss to the Bulldogs on Friday morning at Nancy Almaraz Stadium.
Playing in Puerto Vallarta for the first time in school history, today's game was the first of four over three days for Sacramento State at the tournament. The Hornets (3-3 overall) will play 12th-ranked Arkansas and Southern Illinois tomorrow, followed by a matchup with Central Florida on Sunday.
The Hornets were attempting to knock off a ranked team for the first time since beating #12 Cal in 2009. However, Mississippi State's offense, with the help of three Sacramento State errors, proved to be too much.
The Bulldogs (5-3) opened the scoring in the second inning without recording a hit, taking advantage of a walk and the Hornets' first of three errors in the game. However, that lead was short lived as Sacramento State scored four times in the top of the third inning, all with two outs.
A Mo Spieth two-run single scoring both Shea Graves and Kayla Grubert was followed by RBI-singles from Suzy Brookshire and Sydney Rasmussen. The Hornets had four straight singles with two outs, including a Krystal Aubert base hit that kept the inning alive for Brookshire. By the time the inning ended, Sacramento State had what felt like a commanding 4-1 lead.
However, Mississippi State bounced right back with the help of a two-out, three-run homer by Fa Leilua in the bottom of the third inning that tied the score at 4-4. Leilua had a big day, finishing 2-for-3 with two runs, two homers and five RBIs.
After the Bulldogs grabbed a 5-4 lead in the fifth inning, Rasmussen crushed her second home run of the season, a shot to left-center in the sixth that tied things at 5-5.
Mississippi State then scored three times on just two hits while also taking advantage of a dropped fly ball in the outfield in the sixth inning. Once again, it was Leilua with a two-run homer during the inning that provided the Bulldogs with an 8-5 lead.
For the Bulldogs, Grace Fagan (2-1) got the win in relief, allowing two hits and a run in 4.1 innings. Savanna Corr (2-1) worked the first five-plus innings and got the loss. Both Danielle Sperry and Jensen Main threw in relief.
Rasmussen was the only Hornet with a multiple-hit game, finishing 2-for-3 with a run, homer and a pair of RBIs. The Nos. 3-6 spots in the Hornets' lineup combined to go 5-for-11 with three runs and five RBIs while the rest of the lineup was 0-for-13.
Tomorrow, the Hornets will take on #12 Arkansas at 1 p.m. PST followed by Southern Illinois at 4 p.m. PST.
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