STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State has finalized game time changes for a pair of early-season non-conference baseball doubleheaders at Dudy Noble Field.
In an opening weekend Saturday (Feb. 19) twinbill the Bulldogs will meet Lamar at 11:30 a.m. and Akron at 3:30 p.m., and two weekends later State will take on Georgia State at 12 p.m. and Iowa at 4 p.m. in a Saturday (Mar. 5) doubleheader. The game times were adjusted to maximize fan opportunities to attend both the baseball games and MSU's home basketball games against Ole Miss (Feb. 19-12:30 p.m.) and South Carolina (Mar. 5-1 p.m.).
MSU opens its 121st season of baseball and the third year of the John Cohen coaching era Feb. 18, meeting first-time foe Akron in a 4 p.m. contest at Dudy Noble Field. It's the first game of a season-opening 14-game homestand for the Bulldogs, who play 18 of their first 19 games in Starkville.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - For the second time in as many games, Mississippi State will be going up against a ranked opponent when No. 24 Florida visits Humphrey Coliseum on Saturday in a noon game that will be televised by CBS.
MSU (10-9, 2-3) has won three out of the last four meetings against the Gators and six out of the last 10 at the Hump.
Last year the two split, with Florida coming from behind to win 69-62 in Gainesville and the Bulldogs upending the Gators in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament in Nashville, 75-69.
"They are playing as well as anyone in the conference, and their record shows it," 13th-year MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. "They are well coached, and they are road tested."
Florida (16-4, 5-1) enters the game riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak and winning eight of its last 10 games. In that stretch are two overtime victories, including a 104-91 overtime win at Georgia on Tuesday night.
They are led in scoring by Erving Walker's 14.7 clip, followed by Kenny Boynton at 13.4.
The Bulldogs come into the game looking to end a two-game slide following their heart-breaking 81-74 setback to No. 19 Vanderbilt on Thursday despite leading by nine points with 9:18 remaining.
"We can learn from this game, but we cannot dwell on it," senior guard Riley Benock said. "We have to put it behind us and get ready for the next game. We know we have another good team coming in, and we really need the win."
After Saturday, the Bulldogs hit the road for two-straight games, starting with Western Division leading Alabama on Feb. 2 and LSU on Feb. 5.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Participating in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's annual ITA Kickoff Weekend for the second time in three years, the Mississippi State men's tennis team will begin its dual match season with a pair of matches this weekend in College Station, Texas.
State finished last season with a 10-12 dual match record and just missed out on an NCAA Tournament bid. This season MSU is slated to play a tough schedule of 20 regular season matches, with 18 of its 20 opponents currently ranked among the ITA top 75 nationally.
MSU is ranked 40th nationally, which is the highest ranking the Bulldogs have held when beginning dual match play since 2006 when State started its dual match season ranked 24th. MSU will square off against host-school and 10th-ranked Texas A&M on Saturday at 1 p.m., followed up with a match between either No. 31 Arizona or No. 44 Miami the following day.
"We always like playing a top team early in the year to see where we stand," Coach Per Nilsson said. "Texas A&M gives us that chance and it will be a tough test and will not get much easier the following day against Miami or Arizona, but we do feel prepared for this weekend."
The Bulldogs are 1-0 all-time against the Aggies of Texas A&M, with the lone match occurring during the 1998 season. Against the Wildcats and Hurricane MSU is 1-0 and 4-4 all-time against the respective schools.
State is led in singles by No. 60 nationally ranked junior Louis Cant who boasts a record of 5-3 this season during tournament action. Cant is currently on a three-match win streak and is one win away from his 40th-career victory. Cant also owns a win over an Aggie player already this season with a straight-set take down over Texas A&M's Austin Krajicek in the consolation round at the ITA All-American Championships this past fall.
Arguably MSU's most consistent player this season is junior Artem Ilyushin who sports a current five-match win streak including a pair of victories over ranked opponents in that span and is an impressive 8-2 this season.
In doubles action MSU has a pair of tandem's ranked. Bulldog duo George Coupland and Zach White stand 45th nationally and also Coupland and Ilyushin rank 53rd in the country.
MSU's Saturday opponent boasts four players that are ranked nationally led by Krajicek who is ranked No. 23. Also ranked for the Aggies are 54th-ranked Jeff Dadamo, No. 95 Colin Hoover and 106th-ranked Alexis Kelou. Texas A&M's Dadamo and Krajicek own the No. 1 spot in the country in doubles. Also ranked for the Aggies in doubles are Alberto Bautista and Hoover at 32nd and Niall Angus and Alexey Grigorov at 49th.
MSU and Texas A&M will serve up against each other on Saturday, 1 p.m. CT with live stats being available at www.mstateathletics.com.
Track & Field
NEW YORK, N.Y. - It was a repeat night at famed Madison Square Garden on Friday, as the Mississippi State 4x400-meter relay team successfully defended its title at the prestigious 104th Millrose Game.
The Bulldog quartet of Deaundre Barnaby, James Harris, Emmanuel Mayers and Tavaris Tate won the Gotham Cup College 4x400m Relay for the third time in MSU history and second time in as many years. The Bulldogs claimed victory with a time of 3:18.47, a touch faster than the team's 2009 run of 3:19.44.
"This was a big stage, and it felt great to get out there, compete, and repeat as champions," coach Steve Dudley said. "Running in such a high profile event gave our guys good experience competing in the spotlight, and I could not be prouder of their performance."
After a night of rest, the relay team will fly out Saturday to join its Bulldog teammates at the Rod McCravy Memorial in Lexington, Ky.
The meet in Kentucky actually began on Friday with limited action. Antoine Lipscomb was the lone Bulldog in competition, and he finished 12th in the men's high jump with at 6-02.25.
Field event action resumes at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, with track competition getting underway at 12:30 p.m.