Wesley throws a gem on Native American Heritage Day

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Mississippi State Athletics

Photo: Mississippi State Athletics

STARKVILLE- On a day designed to honor him, Aspen Wesley pitched a full game in a decisive 4-1 win over South Carolina on Native American Heritage Day.

Wesley struck out seven while walking a single batter for his fifth win of the year. She only needed 89 pitches and allowed four hits.

“She threw a great game, to come out and really, I thought, be in control the whole game,” head coach Samantha Ricketts said. “She was attacking the area, going right at the batters. She did a great job of mixing up and was calm and collected and gave us a chance to get the offense in there. But, fair balance, mixing her pitches – just doing what Aspen does best. I think it’s a bit more important to do that with his fanbase, his family, and everyone here to support him. It was definitely a special day for Aspen, and I’m glad we were able to give him that opportunity today.

Offensively, State (21-8, 2-0 SEC) was paced by Paige Cook whose two-run homer broke an open scoreless game late in the fourth. Chloe Malau’ulu and Jackie McKenna both had doubles, and Macy Graf delivered an RBI triple. Cook also put a run on the board with a sacrificial fly.

After Friday night’s game featured a combined 28 strikeouts between the teams, MSU only struck out once on Saturday. The Bulldogs also improved to 6-1 when error-free in the game.


Samantha Ricketts made no mistake today…
“I think that’s huge for us, to make sure we’re playing good defense behind our pitchers. That’s something we really try to focus on. It’s helpful when she’s not leaving a lot of baserunners behind her, but, I think the biggest thing she did was attack. She mixed different terrains and different parts of the area to unbalance them throughout the game.

Aspen Wesley on the pitch during Native American Heritage Day…
“I knew this day was coming, and I’ve been looking forward to it ever since they told me it was coming. I was in the bullpen today and these little kids were watching in the back. I was like, ‘This is crazy.’ That was me when I was younger, and I just wanted to have the best attitude for them. No matter the outcome, always have the best attitude. I just went there- down and I did my thing.

Aspen Wesley on what worked in the circle…
“I feel like all of my pitches were working out one way or another. They have great hitters, but, of course, we have to work in certain ways for different hitters. I was just trying to making sure my pirouettes were working, and I knew the wind was blowing a bit, I wasn’t trying to overdo it and move the ball a bit with the wind.

Paige Cook on her two-run homer in the fourth inning
“[It was] definitely just adjust. We knew what she had and just needed to trust our plan a little more. She fell behind in the count, and I thought she was going to throw something at me in the strike zone, so I took advantage of that.”

Fast hitters

Paige Cook –Hit a two-run homer in the fourth … now has five home runs on the year … also hit a sacrificial fly for a season-high three RBIs in the game.

Macy Graf – Drove in a race with a triple in fifth.

Chloe Malau’ulu – Doubled to open fourth… also walked, stole a base and scored once.

Jackie McKenna – Doubled to open the fifth.

Aspen Wesley — Pitched his second full game of the season … struck out seven, one shy of his season high … walked just one.

Summary of scores

Bottom 4
Chloe Malau’ulu started with a brace to the center right. Paige Cook followed with a two-run homer to center field.
South Carolina 0, Mississippi State 2

Bottom 5
Jackie McKenna opened the frame with a left double. Macy Graf would bring it home with a triple to right center. Malau’ulu walked and stole second base before Cook’s sacrificial fly tagged Graf.
South Carolina 0, Mississippi State 4

Top 6
With one out, Brooke Blankenship chose right. After a pop out, Jen Cummings doubled down the middle, bringing Blankenship to score.
South Carolina 1, Mississippi State 4

On the bridge

The series finale is scheduled for 12 p.m. CT Sunday with the game airing on SEC Network+. Sunday is also MSU’s annual Bark in the Park game, which is the only day dogs are allowed inside Nusz Park. Dog owners must sign a waiver to participate and sit in a designated section of the bleachers. They are also responsible for cleaning up after their pets.

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