Timely hitting is a key to success for many softball teams, and the Mississippi State Bulldogs saw just how important it is.
The No. 12 Tennessee Volunteers beat Mississippi State 8-0 in five innings Friday night at the MSU Softball Field in an opening game of a Southeastern Conference weekend series.
The Bulldogs left seven runners stranded and only managed three hits.
MSU head coach Vann Stuedeman knows to beat an elite team you have to take advantage of all opportunities.
"Anytime you play a top opponent the game comes down to one or two plays, one or two foul balls or one or two hits," Stuedeman said. "We had runners at third early in the game and if we don't get a strikeout and put something in play (it's a different game). We are getting on, but we are not being able to finish it."
The Bulldogs left one on in the first, fourth and fifth innings. They left two on the second and third innings.
Tennessee's Raven Chavanne led off the game with a triple to deep left field. She eventually scored on a RBI single by Madison Shipman.
"They are very well-coached and they have very good bat control," Stuedeman said. "They went in there with a good plan. You have to tip you hat to their coaching staff. They were sitting on some of Stephanie's (Becker) pitches. They were ready to put the barrel on the ball. They were very efficient offensively."
The Volunteers added one more in the first inning. They scored one in the third, two in the fourth and iced the game with a three-run fifth inning.
Becker got the start in the circle for the Bulldogs. She pitched 4.2 innings, gave up eight runs (seven earned), on seven hits. She walked three batters and struck out three.
Ka'ili Smith, Jessica Cooley and Shelby Fisher each had a hit for the Bulldogs. MSU fell to 18-13 for the year and 3-8 in conference play.
Game two of the series will be today at 1 p.m.
"We are looking through the windshield and never the rear view mirror," Stuedeman said. "We will be looking forward and we will continue to try to win each moment and continue to fight like Bulldogs do."