GULFPORT-- Cori Cooper struck out six of the first nine batters she faced as No. 23 Mississippi State beat Incarnate Word 6-0 at the Mississippi Coast Softball Classic on Saturday at the Gulfport Sportsplex.
"Cori Cooper is a freshman for us, and she did a really good job, came out and set the tone," said MSU assistant coach Samantha Ricketts. "That's what we really wanted, a really good first inning out of her, keeping them off balance, jamming them in on their hands."
Cooper didn't allow a base runner until the fourth inning, when she gave up a single. She finished the game with nine strikeouts and gave up only three hits and two walks.
The Lady Bulldogs scored in the first inning off of a Caroline Seitz' RBI double to centerfield as Emily Heimberger scored. Seitz was thrown out at third attempting to stretch the play.
The Lady Bulldogs would score four runs in the top of the third inning. Sarai Niu's double drove in two runs, and singles by Kayla Winkfield and Mackenzie Toler each scored a run.
"The team really answered back well from last night," said Ricketts. "The girls came out ready to play. They were loose, excited, and ready to compete. Up and down great defense and hitting one through nine. It was a good bounce back game for us. Good choice of the lineup."
The Lady Bulldogs had lost their first game of the season 1-0 to McNeese State.
Seitz, Niu, Heimberger and Toler each had two hits against Incarnate Word. Winkfield, Olivia Golden and Amanda Ivy contributed one hit each.