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Matalasi Faapito takes a big moment on Samoan Day


Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — With her family in attendance as No. 20/19 Mississippi State celebrated her culture on Samoan Heritage Day, Matalasi Faapito hit a two-run homer to lift State to a 2-1 victory to win the series against No. 14/12 Georgia.

Faapito has now homered on Samoan Heritage Day in back-to-back seasons, and her blast provided all the runs State (33-17, 12-12 SEC) would need. Aspen Wesley did the rest in the circle, allowing one run on four hits while striking out eight.

"Mata really had good at-bats for us last weekend in Missouri off the bench. We knew she was a good match-up against some of the pitchers today," head coach Samantha Ricketts said.

"Mata is all about the team, everything she does. Every decision she makes whether she sees the field or not, she is going to be all in for the team and really one of the most positive people in that dugout.

“For her to have her big moment, on Samoan Day, the game-winning home run for us, it's just really special and I am really proud of her.

“You just always love when a player like that, who does everything the right way and works hard and is ready for a moment gets a chance to come through,” Ricketts said.

The complete-game victory was Wesley's 14th win of the year and her 12th complete game. Her nine wins in SEC play tied the MSU school record that was most-recently accomplished in 2012 by Stephanie Becker.

With the win, the Bulldogs secured their first .500 season in conference play since 2007 and their highest seed in the SEC Tournament since it moved to its current format.