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MSU upsets Georgia in softball

March 9, 2012

For Mississippi State softball head coach Vann Stuedeman, this is uncharted territory for her.

Her Bulldogs beat the No. 7 Bulldogs of Georgia 5-3 Friday night to give Stuedeman her first Southeastern Conference win as a head coach.

"I don't think I won it," Stuedeman said. "I think the girls did it. I'm just proud for them. They have just been working so hard and buying into everything the coaching staff has asked of them. I feel very good for them. I'm happy for coach (Alan) Reach and coach (Beth) Mullins because they work hard everyday. It's a good team feeling right now."

With the game tied 2-2, Georgia native Heidi Shape singled to left field driving in two runs to give MSU a 4-2 lead. The homestanding Bulldogs added another run when Shape scored on a single by Brittany Gates.

"Heidi she is from the state of Georgia and it is always fun to see a kid have success against that home state school," Stuedeman said. "She is a worker. She is always the one with dirt on her uniform and she is first to practice. She sleeps in our hitting building. She loves softball.

"I tell her all the time to get in that box and trust her hands. Coach Reach and coach Mullins have done a great job convincing her that she is the hitter that she is."

Shape credits her teammates for giving her confidence in that spot.

"I was just trying to get the runner (anyway I could)," Shape said. "My teammates were all in and that really helped. It enabled me to get the hit."

In the circle, it was all Stephanie Becker. She pitched a complete game with five hits, two walks and 10 strikeouts, which was a career high. She improved her record to 8-2.

"She is just a work horse," Stuedeman said. "She works hard in the weight room. I asked her to get more flexible this year. She has been working extra with our trainer on her flexibility. She just has a lot of guts and grit about her. She came out and gave us a great performance."
Becker pitched in both games Wednesday against Florida. She struck out 14 total batters in the two games combined.

"We just went out there and tried our best," Becker said. "Vann called great pitches and (Kaili Smith) caught a great game. We worked the count and it worked in our favor."

Becker wasn't worried when she took the circle. It was just another game to her and she along with her teammates do not worry about what the opposition's rank is.

"We don't worry about the teams we are playing," Becker said. "We just play the game. If we work the process well, do everything individually and as a team that we should, then it takes care of itself."

Shape was excited for her pitcher.

"Becker did awesome," Shape said. "She pitched amazing. She did great. I couldn't be any more happy for her."

UGA scored two runs in the fifth and scored their final run in the fifth inning.

MSU jumped out to a 2-0 lead when they scored two runs on three hits in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Shape was the only Bulldog to record multiple hits

MSU improved to 15-7 overall and 1-2 in conference play. Game two of the series will be today at 1 p.m.

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