No. 4 Softball Tops Mississippi State, 4-1, In Regional Opener

May 16, 2002

LAFAYETTE, La. - The second-seeded and fourth-ranked Arizona State softball team (41-18) scored four runs in the second inning to defeat the fifth-seeded Mississippi State Bulldogs (35-30), 4-1, today in an opening round game of the Region III Tournament at the Lady Cajun Park in Lafayette, Louisiana.

MSU got on the board first in the top of the second when Bulldog pitcher Kasey Whitehead (20-14) doubled just over the outstretched glove of Nichole Thompson to right centerfield, scoring Lindsay Nelson from second.

The Sun Devils then responded in the bottom half of the second with four runs off five hits. The two out rally started when Erin Wardein walked and then went to second on an infield hit by Kristin Farber. Adriana Garcia followed with another single to right field to load the bases. Jennifer Forner then laced a single into center field, scoring Wardein and Farber. Missy Hixon plated Garcia and Forner when she drilled a double to right center to put ASU up 4-1 and chase Whitehead from the game.

MSU had a final threat going in the top of the fifth before ASU got out of the inning on a bizarre double play. Krystal Tillman reached on an error by Wardein at first, then moved to second on an infield hit by Jennifer Nelson. Both players then advanced to second and third on a wild pitch by Erica Beach. Then Iyhia McMichael hit the ball back to Beach who then threw to third to pickoff the runner, but Kara Brun's tag missed Tillman diving back to third. However, Nelson advanced to third and was already standing on the base and was tagged out. Tillman then walked off the bag and was also tagged out for the third out.

Beach (28-13) went the distance, allowing six hits and one run with five strikeouts. Farber and Forner led ASU with two hits each, while Hixon and Forner each had two RBIs apiece.

Up next, Arizona State will face the winner of the Massachusetts vs. Louisiana-Lafayette game on Friday at 5:00 p.m.

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