TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Howard saw its historic season end at the NCAA Regional Round, falling to Mississippi State, 6-3 on Saturday.
“That was just an incredible showing,” said Howard softball head coach Tori Tyson postgame. “This is a team that hasn’t been here since 2007 and we gave a team that is triple our budget our all. We wanted to just cause some ruckus and I thought we did just that.”
Despite the outcome, HU (31-24) produced more hits than the Bulldogs, 7-6, including senior outfielder Kalita Dennis delivering a two-run blast over the left field wall. For her efforts, the California native scored the Bison’s first two runs in program history during the NCAA Tournament.
“I saw a lot more inside today,” said Dennis, who played her final game for the Blue & Gray. “That was my goal coming into the game. I have struggled identifying the ball and starting my sequence so I know every at-bat. I was telling my girls that was my goal and I was glad to see myself execute that.”
Fellow classmate Camille Navarro also registered a hit, along with a walk and run scored in her final game.
MSU (34-25) scored five unearned runs on one hit during the first three innings of play, capitalizing on three Bison errors.
Top six, senior Tracy Mosley provided a spark for the Bison in her final hurrah, tossing 1.2 innings with a pair of strikeouts in relief.
Navarro opened the bottom six with a leadoff double to left center and put HU in prime position to get on the board. With one away, Dennis delivered the historic two-run moonshot and pulled the Bison within four, 6-2.
The rally continued with a hit-by-pitch walk by newcomer Sidney Fletcher, followed by a two-out single from fellow rookie Shalon McNeal; thus, putting runners on the corners. Next, HU utilized aggressive base running to bring home Fletcher and cut the margin to three after six innings, 6-3.
Next inning, MSU’s Aspen Wesley sat down HU in order and advanced Mississippi State to the next round where they will face South Florida in another elimination match.
In her final appearance, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament Outstanding Performer Analise De La Roca battled for 2.2 innings before handing the ball off to senior Sydney Hixenbaugh. The New Jersey product also threw 2.2 innings in her final game for HU.
Fellow seniors Maxie Harrington, Ayana Sallee, Xzarria Simmons and Shayna Swanson all saw action in their final game against the Bulldogs.
“It’s always tough to see careers end,” Tyson expressed. “But you’ve got to leave places better than you found it and every woman who is graduating is done with their eligibility has done just that. They have left this place better than they found it and this is now the standard for Howard, competing at a regional.”
Courtesy: Howard Athletics
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