Cook’s homer lifts Mississippi State to series win

5 minutes ago
Mississippi State Athletics

Photo: Mississippi State Athletics

STARKVILLE – Paige Cook wasted no time. Her two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the first inning was the only scoring in Mississippi State’s 2-0 win over No. 24 Missouri.

It was fitting for Cook, who has been one of State’s hottest hitters in SEC play. She is MSU’s best two-out hitter with a .469 average in such situations and a team-leading 16 two-out RBIs.

“I’m really just trying to keep it simple,” Cook said. “We had a different game plan today. I got moved up in the lineup, and Coach Ricketts said, ‘Just because you’re right there, it doesn’t change anything.’ I just told myself that I haven’t moved in the lineup, and to just see the ball and put it in play.”

MSU (26-13, 7-4 SEC) has now shut out multiple NFCA-ranked teams for the first time since 2019. That season, State shut out both No. 17 Ole Miss and No. 7 LSU in the month of April in a pair of 6-0 victories.

Annie Willis got the start in the circle and threw 5.0 innings, allowing just one hit. Kenley Hawk then came in to finish the job, striking out the side in order in the sixth on her way to her first career save.

Quotables

Samantha Ricketts on playing close games… “It is something that looks like it comes easy, but we know day-in and day-out how much work that takes for them to be confident in their abilities in a tight game. They are trusting their defense and trusting their catcher back there. Especially, when Kenley Hawk is putting balls in the dirt. We are comfortable with the way we play, and we know we are going to have each other’s back and keep each other up. We enjoy the close games, and we enjoy the comeback games like yesterday. We enjoy just going out there and being able to compete together, so it was fun to see them do that in a tight game today.”

Annie Willis on the confidence from MSU’s early run support… “When we scored in the bottom of the first, it kind of set the tone for the game. It allowed us to play calm, cool, and collected. It allowed us to work through our at bats, both on offense and defense.”

Annie Willis on her mindset throughout the game… “Going into the game, I knew we were going to switch up my normal approach. I knew no matter what, I was going to trust my defense behind me. There were a lot more ground balls than normal, and our defense handled them well which was a great feeling.”

Quick Hitters

Success in SEC Series – The Bulldogs have won five of their last seven SEC series, dating back to 2021, with three sweeps in that span … MSU is already one conference win shy of its season total from last year before reaching the midpoint of SEC play.

  • Paige Cook – Hit a two-run home run with two outs in the first … home run was her seventh of the year … leads the team with 16 two-out RBIs … now has a team-leading 11 multi-RBI games … also doubled for her eight multi-hit game of the year.
  • Mia Davidson – Reached in all three plate appearances with a single, a walk and a hit-by-pitch … scored a run.
  • Kenley Hawk – Earned her first career save after throwing the final 2.0 innings … struck out the side in the sixth … finished with XX strikeouts.
  • Addison Purvis – Delivered a pinch-hit single … now 6-for-15 (.400) as a pinch hitter this year and 9-for-23 (.391) in her career.
  • Annie Willis – Allowed one hit in 5.0 innings to earn her fourth win of the year.

Scoring Recap

Bottom 1

With one out Mia Davidson walked. She advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Paige Cook hit a home run to the left-center field. Missouri 0, Mississippi State 2

On Deck

The series finale between Mississippi State and Missouri is set for 12 p.m. CT on Sunday, April 10. The game will air on SEC Network+.

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