News from MSU Media Relations--Mar. 13

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Softball, Men's Tennis, Women's Tennis, Men's Golf and Women's Golf.

USCALOOSA, Ala. - Junior Brittany Gates hit her first career home run as Mississippi State fell 8-2 to North Carolina Sunday afternoon in the final game of the Easton SEC/ACC Challenge in Tuscaloosa.

Mississippi State fell to 12-12 overall, while North Carolina improved to 16-10 on the season.

The Houston, Miss., native's second-inning, two-run home run came after Haleigh Dickey staked UNC to a 3-0 lead with a home run off MSU starter Misty Flesher. The Lone Grove, Okla., native fell to 4-2 after being touched for three runs and two hits over an inning.

"We really dug ourselves in a hole early with that home run in the first inning," MSU head coach Jay Miller said. "It was good to see Brittany Gates get her first home run, but we didn't give her much help. North Carolina's pitcher threw a really good game. We were swinging at pitches out of the strike zone and taking pitches in the strike zone. I was pretty disappointed with the way we came out and competed today."

Gates' home run over the wall in right field scored senior Chelsea Raines after she reached on a fielder's choice.

For the weekend, Raines hit .429 with two doubles, two home runs and two RBI to earn a spot on the all-tournament team alongside senior Courtney Nesbit. Nesbit also tallied a .429 average and hit a pair of home runs while driving in six runs.

Kylie Vry relieved Flesher and kept the Dawgs within a run over the next three innings, but she found trouble in the fifth as the Tar Heels scored three more runs to extend the lead to 6-2.

A Kelsey Green single and double by Dani Manko set up a Kelli Wheeler RBI base hit. Dickey capped the inning as she singled to score Wheeler.

Vry was tagged for three runs (two earned) and five hits over four innings. She struck out three before giving way to freshman Shana Sherrod in the sixth.

Sherrod, fresh off picking up her first collegiate victory in Saturday night's 8-7 win against Florida State, allowed UNC's final two runs (both unearned) on a pair of hits.

Lori Spingola ran her record to 12-7 as she allowed the two runs and a hit while striking out 10 in the complete-game effort.

State returns to Southeastern Conference action on Wednesday as it travels to Gainesville, Fla., for a midweek doubleheader against No. 1/2 Florida beginning at 4 p.m. CT. A free, live audio stream for both games will be available at

Men's Tennis
BATON ROUGE, La. - In what Coach Per Nilsson called ‘a great team effort' the 38th-ranked Mississippi State men's tennis team captured its second-straight Southeastern Conference road victory with a 5-2 win at #56 LSU. MSU improves to 7-5 on the season and are now 3-1 in conference play.

"It was a great win for us and LSU is very tough on their home courts," Coach Nilsson said. "Our goal was to win both matches this weekend and we're excited to come home with two SEC road wins. They gave a great team effort in singles and we are seeing a lot of improvements in areas that we have been practicing on."

The Bulldogs dropped a hard-fought doubles point to trail early in the match but battled on the road in singles and claimed five of the six possible points in singles to claim the victory over the Tigers and avenged last season's heartbreaking 4-3 setback to LSU.

State dropped two of the three matches in doubles to give the Tigers the early advantage. MSU's George Coupland and James Chaudry fell, 8-5, on court two to Roger and Anderson and Stefan Szacinski of the Tigers. LSU clinched the doubles point on court one where State's Louis Cant and Malte Stropp dropped a hard-fought match to the No. 17 nationally ranked Tiger duo of Sebastian Carlsson and Neal Skupski, 8-5. At the No. 3 position, MSU's tandem of Artem Ilyushin and Zach White claimed a tiebreaker, 9-8(6), to defeat LSU's Olivier Borsos and Julien Gauthier.

MSU rebounded and evened the score at one-all with an identical-set victory by Bulldog freshman Stropp, who was the match-clinching point for the Maroon and White this past Friday at Arkansas. Stropp defeated LSU's Mark Bowtell, 6-4, 6-4 at the No. 4 position. Stropp extended his team-leading victory total to 15 on the season, improved to 7-2 in dual match play and is now 2-1 in league action.

No. 92 ranked Ilyushin of MSU earned an upset win at the No. 1 spot by taking down the Tigers 69th-ranked Skupski. Ilyushin claimed the opening set, 6-2, and trailed 4-1 in the second before rebounding and claiming the next five games to clinch the match and give State its first lead of the match, 2-1. The win was Ilyushin's first at the No. 1 position this season as he snapped a two-match losing streak and got back to .500 in conference play.

LSU tried to rally with a win at the No. 3 spot. State's Chaudry, who was a perfect 7-0 coming into Sunday's match, dropped the first dual match of his career with a two-set slip up to Szacinski of the Tigers, 7-5, 6-2. The loss snapped a nine-match winning streak for the sophomore from Southampton, England.

With three remaining points in the match the Bulldogs battled adversity and surged in a tremendous team effort to clinch the victory for the Maroon and White. At the No. 5 position, the Bulldogs 73rd-ranked Cant trailed 5-2 in the second set after claiming the opening set, 6-4, but battled back to win, 7-5, over LSU's Carlsson, to put MSU within one point of clinching the win. Cant has won two of his previous three matches and improved to 7-3 in dual match action and 3-1 in league play.

For the second-time this season MSU's Coupland clinched the match for the Maroon and White with a three-set victory. Coupland won the opening set over the Tigers' Borsos, 6-4, dropped the second set, 6-1, and was down, 4-3, in the third before taking over and clinching the victory for the Bulldogs. Coupland snapped a two-match skid and improved to .500 in conference matches.

With the match clinched MSU's favor, Bulldog freshman White rallied to win back-to-back tiebreakers in the second and third sets and give MSU the 5-2 victory. White defeated Gauthier of LSU, 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(2), and improved to 3-1 in SEC action while also claiming his 10th career victory as a Bulldog.

"Losing the doubles point and then coming back and winning five singles matches is very impressive, especially on the road," Coach Nilsson said. "It was a really great effort by our guys to stay focused no matter the score and battle the way they did."

It was only the fourth-time State has won at LSU, a team that defeated top 25 Ole Miss this past Friday, 4-2, and the 10th all-time victory for the Bulldogs over the Tigers. MSU also-snapped a five-match losing streak to the Tigers and it was Coach Nilsson's first career victory against the western division foe.

MSU will remain on the road next weekend as State faces the South Carolina Gamecocks next Saturday, Mar. 19, in Columbia, S.C.

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - MSU rookie Alexandra Perper defeats 52nd ranked Whitney Wolf of LSU as the Lady Bulldog tennis team (2-8, 0-4 SEC) falls to the 64th ranked Tigers (5-6, 3-1 SEC), 6-1.

"We really fought hard today and I am starting to see improvement in both singles and doubles," coach Daryl Greenan said. "Alexandra Perper's win today was a huge boost for her confidence as well as the team's. It was also exciting to see Olesya Tsigvintseva really start to get her competitive edge because you need that in this league. This break will be good for our girls because we need the rest and we hope to improve before South Carolina."

Starting with doubles, State's pair of Olesya Tsigvintseva and Jordan Zachary fell behind early 6-1, on court 2. However, the pair came back to take the next two games but eventually fell 8-3 to LSU's duo of Keri Frankenberger and Yvette Vlaar.

In the top position, the Tiger tandem of Kaitlyn Burns and Whitney Wolf took down Lady Bulldogs Alexandra Perper and Jordan Zachary 8-3, clinching the doubles point for LSU. Roseline Dion and Vivian Pietraroia fell in the No. 3 position to Louisiana State's duo of Ariel Morton and Ebie Wilson.

In singles action, Wilson ousted Terpko in a two-setter on court 3, 6-0, 6-2. At the second position, Ryzhova fell to Burns 6-3, 6-1.

Competing in the No. 5 spot for Mississippi State was Pietraroia where she dropped the first set 6-0. However, Pietraroia battled to 3-4 in the second set but eventually fell Vlaar 6-0, 6-3. Lady Bulldog Dion battled on court 6 but dropped a two-set decision 6-1, 6-1 to Morton.

Mississippi State however, would not give up. Tsigvintseva dropped a quick first set 6-2 on court 4 but battled back to take the second set 6-2. The match was to be decided in a 10-point super tiebreaker and Tsigvintseva went up 5-3. LSU's Frankenberger seemed to keep the edge though as she battled back to take the third set, 1-0(8).

In the top spot for the Lady Bulldogs was Perper where she also dropped the first set 6-0. Perper fought her way back as she won 6-3 in the second set to send the match in to a final set. It was a back and forth affair as LSU's 52nd ranked Wolf would not give in. Falling behind 5-4, Wolf battled to even the match at 5-5 but Perper proved too much as she took the final two games to win the match 0-6, 6-3, 7-5.

The Lady Bulldogs are back in action on Friday, March 25 against the South Carolina. Match time is set for 2 p.m. CT at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre where admission to all MSU home matches is free.

Men's Golf
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - For the first time in his young career Axel Boasson led the Mississippi State men's golf team while MSU had its best team finish in six tournaments and its best team score in five. The Bulldogs finished seventh among the 18-team field and posted a three-round total of 888 at the Seminole Intercollegiate being played at the par-71 Southwood Golf Club in Tallahassee, Fla.

Boasson had a career weekend posting his career-best round of 70 on Saturday, career-best tournament score of 216, which is also the lowest tournament total by a Bulldog this spring and a career-best finish by tying for 18th among the 96-player individual field. Boasson also led the Maroon and White in pars made by notching 35 pars in 54 holes of play.

"Axel (Boasson) had a nice tournament and gave us a solid effort," Coach Clay Homan said. "He will only continue to get better because there is no doubt he has the talent."

Bulldog freshman Chad Ramey bounced back from his previous tournament and fired a three-round score of 219 while holding the runner-up position in the Bulldog lineup. Ramey shot consistent rounds of 73-72-74 and finished in a tie for 29th among the individual standings.

Robi Calvesbert and Lee Heaton were tied for third in State's lineup with each having 54-hole scores of 223 and Evan Hugall rounded out the Bulldog lineup with a tournament total of 228. Brad Mason competed as an individual for the Maroon and White and improved on each round of play and finished with a three-round total of 226.

"Overall we are not getting the ball close enough to the hole from the fairway which leads to blown opportunities," Coach Homan said. "We must do a better job of converting those easy shots."

MSU will continue its season next weekend in Statesboro, Ga., where the Maroon and White will tee off in the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational hosted by Georgia Southern.

Women's Golf
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Sophomore Maria Roos led the Mississippi State women's golf team in the final of the LSU Golf Classic at the University Club in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday, firing a 1-over par 73 to lead the Lady Bulldogs to a 20th place finish in the toughest field the Lady Bulldogs have faced this season.

The 321 stroke total posted by the lady linksters in the final round was the team's second-best round of the tournament. The team fired a 963 on the weekend.

Finishing just behind Roos in the tournament was senior Erika Thornton at 241 strokes. Fellow senior Mallory Batson and freshman Esther Huffman tied for third on the team with 248 tournament-clips. Freshman Mary Langdon Gallagher finished off the Lady Bulldogs tournament total by carding a 266.

Mississippi State's women's golf team returns to action on Mon, Mon. 21 at the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate at Eagles Landing Country Club in Stockbridge, Ga.

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