News from MSU Media Relations--Apr. 9

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

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Senior Ali Bainbridge collected two hits and drove in a run as the Mississippi State softball team fell 5-3 to No. 22 Auburn Saturday afternoon during Super Bulldog Weekend presented by Region's Bank festivities at the MSU Softball Field.

Playing in front of a crowd of 785, the fifth-largest in MSU Softball Field history, the Bulldogs rallied from a 3-0 deficit to knot the game in the bottom of the third, but Auburn got a run in the fourth and another in the top of the seventh to force the rubber game Sunday at 1 p.m.

Mississippi State (20-20, 8-7 SEC) will be hosting its annual Strikeout Cancer game Sunday. Fans are encouraged to wear pink as the Dawgs go for the series win against the Tigers (31-9, 10-6 SEC).

Auburn took the early 1-0 lead on an Amber Harrison single. The Tigers extended the lead to 3-0 in the top of the third on a single by Lauren Guzman and a bunt single from Kyndall White.

Just as they did Friday night in clinching Jay Miller's 1,000th-career win, the Dawgs rallied with the tying runs in the bottom of the third. Birmingham native Jessica Cooley led off the inning with a single, and Bainbridge, a Vestavia Hills, Ala., native, brought her home with her team-best fourth triple of the season.

Bainbridge cut the Auburn lead to 3-2 when she touched home following Ka'ili Smith's ground ball through the left side of the infield.

Pinch-running for Shelby Fisher after she walked earlier in the inning, freshman Jessica Offutt came home with the tying run on a Courtney Nesbit ground ball. Guzman fielded the ball at short and tried to get Offutt at third, but the ball deflected off the MSU runner, allowing her to come home with the tying run.

"I thought we had some good opportunities in the third and seventh that we let slip away. We had the right people up with runners in scoring position, which is what we wanted," Miller said. "I thought we threw away a few at-bats, but we battled really well and kept fighting. We gave ourselves a chance to win the ballgame."

State was unable to complete the rally, however, as a Kelsey Cartwright sacrifice fly off Bulldog starter Kylie Vry put Auburn ahead 4-3.

Vry, Friday night's winner, fell to 8-9 as she was touched for four runs on nine hits over four innings. Misty Flesher tossed the final three frames, allowing Auburn's final run in the seventh and three hits.

Angel Bunner went the distance for the Tigers. She improved to 11-3 this season as she allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits while striking out five.

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's men's tennis team, winner of six of its last eight matches and fresh off a 5-2 upset of 21st-ranked Auburn on the road Friday, will meet another tough Southeastern Conference foe in #42 Alabama Sunday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Match time is set for 1 p.m. CT at UA's Varsity Courts.

State, 11-7 overall and 6-3 in the SEC, currently leads the Western Division. ‘Bama will enter Sunday's affair at 9-9 overall and 2-7 in league play. The Crimson Tide is coming off a 5-2 setback to 32nd-ranked Ole Miss Friday at home. The Bulldogs own a slight 25-24 series lead on the Tide and the teams are knotted at 11-11 all-time in Tuscaloosa.

Three Bulldogs are ranked in the top 100 nationally in singles with Louis Cant (77th), George Coupland (76th) and Artem Ilyushin (94th). Cant and MSU rookie Malte Stropp form the nation's 84th-ranked doubles duo. Cant and Stropp have each won eight consecutive singles matches.

Alabama sports the country's 76th-ranked doubles tandem in Jarryd Botha and Ricky Doverspike.

Follow Sunday's matchup in Tuscaloosa, the Bulldogs will return home next Saturday, April 16, to close out the 2011 regular season by hosting arch rival Ole Miss. Match time between the Bulldogs and Rebels is set for 1 p.m. CT at MSU's A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss - Mississippi State's women's tennis squad (2-13, 0-9 SEC) is set to host the 27th ranked Crimson Tide of Alabama (12-5, 5-3 SEC) on Sunday, April 10 where they will be honoring Elizabeth Hall on Senior Day.

Eupora, Mississippi-native Elizabeth Hall, is this year's lone senior for the Lady Bulldogs. Hall has competed in 28 overall singles matches during her four-year tenure and has boasted her talents in the classroom through several SEC and ITA academic honors.

Coming off of a big win in Friday's match against Auburn, freshman Alexandra Perper has now compiled six victories in the top spot for the Lady Bulldogs and seeks to continue her momentum into Sunday's match.

Alabama has taken five-straight from the Lady Bulldogs and hold a 12-31 advantage in the overall affair. Last year, the Crimson Tide took a 5-2 decision from State, but the Lady Bulldogs seek to avenge that loss on Sunday.

Match time is slated for 1 p.m. CT at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre where admission to all MSU home matches is free.

Following Sunday's match, the Lady Bulldogs will travel to Oxford, Miss. on Saturday, April 16 and take on Ole Miss for their last regular season match of the 2011 season.

Live stats will be available on

Track & Field
AUSTIN, Texas - As action at the 84th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays came to a close Saturday, junior D'Angelo Cherry wanted to make sure Mississippi State ended on a positive note.

In front of a packed crowd of 18,369, he did just that, finishing third in the highly competitive 100-meter dash with a time of 10.23.

Senior Emanuel Mayers started Saturday off by finishing fourth in the 400m hurdles with a time of 51.21. Next up for the Maroon and White was freshman Marcus Jackson with his sixth place height of 7-00 ½ in the high jump.

"The Texas Relays are a big event," MSU coach Steve Dudley said. "I'm proud of the way our kids competed at such large scale event. I always tell them to be better than yesterday, and I think they did that."

The Bulldog relay teams had a good day as well.

The 4x400 team of freshman James Harris, junior O'Neal Wilder, sophomores Daundre Barnaby and Tavaris Tate finished fifth (3:04.13), while the 4x100m quartet of senior Kendall May, Cherry, junior Garren Hendricks and Tate ran a 39.59 to take sixth place.

The distance medley team of freshmen Carter Hewitt, Randy Patterson, Juan Sanchez and senior Matthew Cameron ran a 10:23.83 to take 15th.

In late Friday action, the 4x1500m team of Hewitt, Cameron, Sanchez and freshman Michael Clark placed fifth (16:00.52), while the sprint 1600m relay team of Barnaby, Harris, Tate and Hendricks posted a 12th place time of 3:38.79.

Taking top billing for the Lady Bulldogs was the 4x1500m relay quartet of sophomores Chloe Phillips, Renee Masterson, Katie Huston and Kallie Dalton, who placed third (19:05.14) as they raced late Friday night.

On Saturday the distance medley team of Phillips, sophomore Keisha Wallace, Huston and Dalton placed sixth with their time of 12:14.01, while the 4x200m relay team of seniors Taneisha Baker, Richesa McCaleb and sophomores Jody-Ann Muir and Racquel Farquharson set a new MSU All-Time record with their seventh place time of 1:35.06.

"We may not have won an event today, but we competed hard," Dudley stated. "We have to get ready for our next event and get better each time we get on a track or field."

Next for the Bulldogs the Jace Lacoste Memorial Invitational in Starkville on April 15-16.

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