TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Senior Courtney Nesbit hit two home runs as part of a four-hit, four-RBI Saturday, and Shana Sherrod picked up her first career win as the Mississippi State softball team split two games at the SEC/ACC Challenge in Tuscaloosa. The Bulldogs rallied to defeat Florida State 8-7 in the nightcap after falling 12-4 to North Carolina in the day's opening game.
Saturday night's win against Florida State improved the Bulldogs to 12-11 on the season.
Nesbit went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run against the Seminoles after opening the day with a two-run blast in a 2-for-3 effort against North Carolina. The Acworth, Ga., native now has a team-leading seven home runs this season.
Nesbit's two-run blast against Florida State was one of three State hit in the game. Senior Ali Bainbridge hit her second of the year, a three-run shot, to cap a 2-for-5 offensive effort. Fellow senior Chelsea Raines hit her third home run and doubled as she collected three hits in the contest.
Sherrod, a Vestavia Hills, Ala., native, worked the final 3.1 innings in relief in Saturday night's back-and-forth affair, allowing a run and three hits while striking out one to earn the first decision of her young career.
"It was a really good win for our ball club. We had some big hits tonight with Ali Bainbridge, Chelsea Raines and Courtney Nesbit each coming up with some big home runs for us," MSU head coach Jay Miller, who picked up career victory No. 992, said. "Defensively, we hung in there and made some plays, and Shana did a tremendous job in the circle for us tonight. Kylie (Vry) and Misty (Flesher) struggled a little bit tonight, and Shana did a great job coming in off the bench and picking us up. Shelby Fisher had a big pinch-hit walk tonight. Everyone contributed tonight, and it resulted in a great team win."
The Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the opening inning of action. Bainbridge singled up the middle and took second on a Heidi Shape sacrifice bunt. Ka'ili Smith was hit by a pitch and Nesbit reached on a bouncer up the middle. Sam Lenahan brought Bainbridge home with her ground-out to shortstop.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Florida State scored on a throwing error, a Kristie McConn base hit and a Courtney Senas single to take a 3-1 advantage in the second.
The Dawgs answered right back, though, as Smith delivered a one-out single, and Nesbit took a pitch from FSU starter Morgan Bullock over the wall in left field to tie the game.
The Seminoles regained a 4-3 edge in the bottom of the third as Jen Lapicki hit a one-out, solo home run to right-center off Vry.
The Des Moines, Iowa, native allowed three runs and four hits over 1.2 innings. Flesher worked the opening two frames, surrendering three runs and five hits.
After State was unable to capitalize on a bases-loaded situation in the top of the fourth, the Seminoles got back-to-back doubles to in the bottom of the inning to take a 6-3 lead.
The Dawgs responded in the top of the fifth, however, plating four runs to go up 7-6. Raines sparked the inning with a one-out double, and she moved to third as the throw to second bounced away.
Sophomore Jessica Cooley scored her with a base hit up the middle, and a walk to pinch-hitter Shelby Fisher brought Sarah Hamilton to the circle for FSU. Bainbridge promptly greeted the Seminole reliever, taking the first pitch deep over the wall in center field for a three-run home run that put the lead back in MSU's favor for good.
The Bulldogs extended the lead to 8-6 in the top of the sixth as Raines ripped a two-out home run over the center-field wall.
Florida State cut the Bulldogs' lead to 8-7 in the bottom of the sixth, but Sherrod avoided any further damage as she recorded a pair of infield pop-outs to end the inning.
Sherrod quickly got the first two outs of the seventh, and after a Bullock base hit, she retired Tiffani Brown on a pop-out to shortstop to end the game.
Hamilton was saddled with her second-straight defeat to MSU to fall to 5-9. She allowed two runs on three hits over the final 2.2 innings. Bullock tossed the game's opening 4.1 frames, surrendering six runs and nine hits.
In addition to Nesbit's home run, Smith collected two hits as the Bulldogs fell to North Carolina in the day's opening game.
Briana Bell and Cooley each drove in a run for Mississippi State in the setback.
State found itself in an early deficit as North Carolina opened the game with four first-inning runs. Haleigh Dickey hit a two-out, two-run home run that chased Bulldog starter Stephanie Becker.
Vry entered in relief and immediately issued a walk. After an error kept the inning alive, Logan Foulks cleared the bases with a double that put the Tar Heels in front 4-0.
Mississippi State tried to answer in the bottom of the first as Bainbridge was hit by a pitch to open the inning. Smith reached two batters later on a fly ball to left field that was lost in the sun, but the Dawgs were unable to get any runs across on UNC starter Lori Spingola.
Spingola improved to 12-7 as she allowed two runs and three hits while striking out eight in five innings.
Becker fell to 3-2 as she went 0.2 innings and was touched for two runs and a hit. Vry surrendered three runs (one earned) on five hits over 1.1 innings, while Lindsey Dunlap allowed five earned runs (seven total) and three hits while walking six in 1.2 innings.
Sherrod held the Tar Heels off the scoreboard over the final 1.1 innings, allowing one hit.
UNC extended the lead to 5-0 in the top of the second inning before breaking the game open with a seven-run fourth that was sparked by another two-run double from Foulks.
State kept fighting and scratched across a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth off UNC reliever Ashley Bone. Smith opened the inning with her second single of the afternoon, and Nesbit moved pinch-runner Jessica Offutt to second as she found a hole on the left side of the infield.
Lenahan reached on an error to load the bases, and Bell put the Dawgs on the scoreboard with a base hit to right that brought Spingola back to the circle.
State immediately hit into a double play, but Cooley punched a base hit to left that scored Lenahan with MSU's second run of the game.
The Dawgs plated their final two runs in the bottom of the fifth as Bainbridge drew a leadoff walk and came home on Nesbit's towering blast over the wall in left field.
The Bulldogs close the weekend with another game against North Carolina at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
Mississippi State returns to SEC action Wednesday, venturing to Gainesville, Fla., for a doubleheader against No. 1/2 Florida. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. CT, and a free, live audio stream of the games will be available at www.mstateathletics.com/m2mlive.
STARKVILLE, Miss - Mississippi State's 38th ranked men's tennis squad (6-5, 2-1 SEC) is headed to Baton Rouge on Sunday where they will take on the #56 Tigers of LSU (5-7, 2-1 SEC).
Playing hot for the Bulldogs this season is sophomore James Chaudry. Chaudry, the Southampton, England native, is on a nine-match win streak where he is 7-0 in SEC action. Also performing well for MSU is the rookie out of Dusseldorf, Germany, Malte Stropp. Stropp has earned to SEC Freshman of the Week honors this season and was the match clinching point in Friday's victory over Arkansas.
Mississippi State has two juniors in the line-up who have fought their way into the ITA rankings. Louis Cant has climbed his way to 73rd in the country while Artem Ilyushin has found himself at 92.
Coming off a big 5-2 victory over Arkansas on Friday, Mississippi State hopes to continue their weekend road success in Louisiana. Last season, LSU took a heartbreaker from the Dogs in Starkville where the Tigers battled for the 4-3 decision. MSU seeks to avenge that loss by continuing their SEC success this season.
Match time is slated for 1 p.m. CT at the ‘Dub' Robinson Stadium.
Live stats will be available at www.mstateathletics.com.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - MSU's women's tennis team (2-7, 0-3 SEC) is set to face the 64th ranked Tigers of LSU (4-6, 2-1 SEC) on Sunday.
Head coach Daryl Greenan has the Lady Bulldogs competing young this season as three freshmen have seen a significant amount of action in the line-up. Rookies Roseline Dion, Alexandra Perper and Vivian Pietraroia have been battling for MSU this spring and the trio is seeking to continue their efforts on Sunday.
Also, junior Jordan Zachary was inserted back in to the doubles line-up in Friday's match against the Razorbacks after sitting out for the first half of the season due to an early injury.
Mississippi State is seeking to avenge a tough loss in Baton Rouge last season as the Tigers took a 6-1 decision from the Lady Bulldogs.
Match time is slated for 1 p.m. CT at the A.J. Piits Tennis Centre where admission to all MSU home matches is free.
Live stats will be available at www.mstateathletics.com.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - After firing consecutive rounds of 289 the Mississippi State men's golf team is in sole possession of fifth place following second round action at the Seminole Intercollegiate, which is being played at the par-71 Southwood Golf Club in Tallahassee, Fla.
The Maroon and White are 10-over-par and trail only 18th-ranked Arkansas, host-school Florida State, Kennesaw State and top 50 foe North Texas. The 289 second-round score was the best round two score by the Bulldogs in four tournaments.
Bulldog freshman Axel Boasson leads the way for the Maroon and White with a 1-over-par two-round total of 143. Boasson is tied for 11th among the individual field. Boasson's second round score of 70 was a career-best round for the Iceland-native.
State's Robi Calvesbert is in a tie for 16th and trails Boasson by only one stroke, followed by freshman Chad Ramey who is in a tie for 22nd with a 145 two-round score. Lee Heaton and Evan Hugall round out the Bulldog lineup with scores of 149 and 150 respectively.
MSU will tee off final round action in the Seminole Intercollegiate on Sunday and live stats will be available at www.mstateathletics.com.
Track & Field
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - It was a day of endings for Mississippi State's Indoor Track and Field team, as action wrapped at the NCAA Championships and James Harris concluded his first indoor season with All-American status.
In the high jump, the freshman jumped 7-2 ½ to finish seventh and garner All-American honors. He also earned two points.
"To come in as a true freshman and score at the NCAAs is impressive," Dudley stated. "It doesn't matter how good you are in high school, this is your testing ground and for Harris to score is pretty special."
Late Friday in the 60m dash, Cherry ran a 6.68 to finish 12th in the prelim, a mere 0.02 shy of qualifying for the finals.
"This season has been night and day from last year for Cherry," head coach Steve Dudley said. "Being plagued by injury can get some players down, but it never got to Cherry and it was nice to see him out there competing for a championship."
With the conclusion in College Station, MSU finished its indoor season. Outdoor season will begin for the Bulldogs on Saturday, March 19, 2011, with the Rajin' Cajun Classic in Lafayette, LA.
"I am really looking forward to beginning outdoor season," Dudley commented. "It will be a fresh start and to have the whole team back together again will be good."