Starkville Daily News

Bulldogs suffer shutout to visiting Bison


Tuesday was a performanc­e the Mississipp­i State softball team would just rather forget.

The Bulldogs got a good showing in the circle from Matalasi Faapito and Aspen Wesley, but the offense was not to be found against North Dakota State hurler Paige Vargas.

Vargas went the distance and only gave up one hit as the visiting Bison defeated MSU 2-0 at Nusz Park.

The Bulldogs saw their record fall to 18-8 and head coach Samantha Ricketts said it was just not one of their better days.

“We talk about it all the time that you have to bring it ever day,” Ricketts said. “It doesn't matter who your opponent is and we definitely did not look prepared to play today. I think that showed.”

It was a scoreless game for three innings and Faapito was dealing well early. She ended up with a career-high 10 strikeouts for the game.

Faapito was surprised to learn after the game that she had hit the personal milestone strikeout total and admitted to not feeling her best.

“Pretty much all of my pitches were working, but I just need to stay loose,” Faapito said. “(Tuesday) I wasn't myself. I wasn't feeling that great, but it was like ‘I'm here' and I have a job.”

Faapito ended up working 5.2 innings, gave up both runs on five hits and only walked one. Wesley entered the contest in the sixth inning and finished strong with 1.1 no-hit frames and three strikeouts.

Ricketts said the offense just didn't do enough in support of Faapito and Wesley, but part of that credit goes to Vargas, who had seven strikeouts and no walks.

“She does a great job of mixing her pitches, mixing speeds and really didn't leave a whole lot over the plate,” Ricketts said. “Give credit to her as well. I thought she threw a great game, but we need to be a little bit more discipline­d in our approach against a good pitcher like that.”

The only hit for MSU was a third-inning double by Madisyn Kennedy and the only other base runner came in the second frame when Riley Hull reached on the only error of the game.

Although the disappoint­ment was evident, the Bulldogs get a chance to make up for it today with another home game against Purdue. The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Faapito looks forward to a new day.

“Obviously we are going to come back stronger,” Faapito said. “(Tuesday) didn't go as planned. We're ready to come back as a team, come together and fight together.”

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