MSU beats Ole Miss with long ball
The wind was a friend to the Mississippi State softball hitters Sunday afternoon.
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Sam Lenahan used the breeze to knock a solo home run in the third inning, while Courtney Nesbit followed that up with a two-run shot in the sixth and the Bulldogs defeated the Ole Miss Rebels 9-3 at the MSU Softball Field. Mississippi State won the Southeastern Conference series against its rival 2-1.
The home run for Nesbit was a welcomed site as she has been struggling with a hip flexor injury for several weeks.
"It felt good and I needed that," Nesbit said. "It got a couple of runs for our pitchers."
Nesbit finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle with a single, double and her eighth homer of the year for the Bulldogs and matched her career RBI total with five.
MSU softball coach Jay Miller was glad to see Nesbit swing a hot bat.
"She's had that hip flexor and it's been really painful as well as bothering her out there," Miller said. "I thought she did a really good job of fighting through that and she is starting to swing the bat like she was before."
After the Rebels took a 1-0 advantage with a run in the top of the first inning, MSU came back with four runs in the bottom half. The Bulldogs gained the 2-1 lead on a two-run double by Nesbit.
MSU expanded the margin to 5-1 lead in the third inning on the solo homer by Lenahan. It was her sixth round-tripper of the season.
"I saw that first pitch and put my bat on it," Lenahan said. "I've been hitting the ball good the last couple of weekends. I've been just trying to see it and hit it. I just want to do my best to help the pitchers out."
Ole Miss got a pair of runs to close the gap to 5-3, but didn't get any closer against Bulldogs pitchers Stephanie Becker and Kylie Vry.
MSU expanded the margin once again with two runs on two hits in the fourth and on Nesbit's home run to left in the sixth.
"I thought we did a much better job when we got people on base," Miller said. "We were able to push them across and score them. That's one of the things we have been struggling with lately, especially the first two days of this series. I thought we did a much better job today. We got some big hits.
"Courtney got one up in the wind today and I thought that helped, but all of the way through the lineup, we did a good job of getting on base and driving in some runs."
The Bulldogs had 10 hits and six of them went for extra bases. Ka'ili Smith added a single and double to MSU's total.
"We started swinging well and got some balls to fall our way," Nesbit said. "We've been seeing it good all weekend and had a little luck today.Â It was a big series to win."
The Bulldogs, who improved to 19-18 overall and 7-6 in the SEC, travel to Ridgeland to face Southern Mississippi Wednesday, then host Auburn for their next SEC set on Super Bulldog Weekend.