Scoreless streak continues as MSU softball tops Arkansas
By DANNY P. SMITH
The scoreless streak continues at home for the Mississippi State softball pitching staff.
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After Kylie Vry hurled a four-hit, shutout in Friday's 3-0 series opener for the Bulldogs against Arkansas, Vry combined with Stephanie Becker and Misty Flesher to blank the Razorbacks again 2-0 on Saturday.
"It's a big one for us, a big series," Flesher said about the weekend set between the two Southeastern Conference Western Division teams. "We've pulled together as a team. We're going to try and finish it (today)."
After Becker gave up the only hit of the game in the first inning and walked the first batter she faced in the second, Flesher entered the game and worked 4.2 innings of no-hit softball with three strikeouts.
Flesher and the other pitchers received instruction from MSU softball coach Jay Miller to be ready to get into the game at any moment's notice.
"I was ready," Flesher said. "I was just trying to stay ahead in the count. Once I did that, it was all in my hands and to make them go for something out of the zone.
"We needed to go right at them, get ahead and stay ahead. That's what works best for us. Along with playing defense, we're more successful than not."
The Bulldogs, who improved their SEC record to 4-2 and evened their overall mark at 14-14, have not allowed a run for 14-straight innings.
MSU tries to keep that run going with today's 1 p.m. first pitch. The game will be televised by Fox Sports South.
With the win, Flesher improved her record to 5-3 and Vry pitched the final 1 1/3 to pick up her second save of the season.
Miller likes what's going on in the circle for his squad as the temperature hovered near the 80-degree point.
"Stephanie struggled a little bit with her illegal pitches so we made a change there, then Misty came in and shut them down," Miller said. "She did a great job, got a little tired in the heat. Kylie came in and finished out.
"(Misty) did a great job and got a little tired there. It's the first time we played in this kind of heat this year. She worked really hard over the summer to fix that illegal-pitch problem that she had last year. She did a great job and got it cleaned up. She hasn't had any problem this year at all."
The Bulldogs got all of the runs the pitchers needed when Courtney Nesbit delivered a two-run double in the third inning to score Heidi Shape and Ka'ili Smith.
"I was really looking for something to drive to get those runs in," Nesbit said. "We needed a couple of runs for our pitchers and just going for that series win today and we got it."
Nesbit had three of MSU's six hits, including another double. On the second two-bagger, she pulled up with a sore hip muscle which has been bothering her for about a week.
"Sure enough, a kid that can't run hits two to the fence and barely makes it into second," Miller said with a grin. "It was a big hit to drive in those two runs."
Nesbit said she's trying to ignore the pain and play like it's not there. She knows the Arkansas series is big for the Bulldogs.
"We really needed these wins, especially coming back from Florida and not having a great series down there," Nesbit said. "Arkansas has been the team that has killed us the last couple of years and getting this series win is huge."