News from MSU Media Relations--Apr. 13

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Men's Basketball, Men's Tennis and Baseball.

Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's stellar signing class increased by one on Wednesday when heralded power forward Roquez Johnson of Montgomery, Ala., inked his letter of intent.

The 6-foot-7, 210-pound G.W. Carver High School standout joins Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year Rodney Hood, Parade All-American D.J. Gardner and All-State performer Deville Smith as the Bulldogs' incoming freshman for the 2011-12 campaign.

This signing class is currently ranked No. 20 by ESPN and No. 24 by Scout.com.

"We are really excited to have Joquez join our family," said 14th-year MSU coach Rick Stansbury, the school's all-time leader in wins with 272. "He's a hard worker that brings a tremendous work ethic to your program every day. He's from one of the winningest high school programs in the state of Alabama, where he's played for one of best coaches in James Jackson. He's a great kid from a really good family."

Johnson comes to MSU after leading the Wolverines to a 33-2 record and a berth in the Class 6A semifinals as a senior. He led his team in rebounding (13.2), while his 16 points were the third most. He also dished out 5.1 assists while collecting 3.1 steals. In the 54-50 loss to Hillcrest (Tuscaloosa) in the semifinals, he totaled 13 points.

As a junior, Carver advanced to the Class 5A finals, where it lost to Lee-Huntsville, 62-48. However, Johnson paced his team with 17 points and 10 rebounds en route to garnering first-team all-tournament honors.

The son of Rose and Robert Johnson, he was selected to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic last March, where he totaled 9 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks.

"He is a picture of hard work," Carver coach James Jackson said. "The thing about his game is that he's very athletic. Night in and night out, he's going to give you all he has. He can get up and down the court, and he's a joy to watch play. The fans at Mississippi State are in for a big surprise."

Johnson's older brother, Robert, played for current MSU assistant George Brooks at Meridian Community College when he was the head coach.


Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - After a stellar weekend in singles and doubles action, Mississippi State men's tennis' freshman Zach White was named the SEC Freshman of the Week.

During this weekend's SEC bouts, White compiled a 3-1 overall record in singles and doubles play. On Friday, Mississippi State faced then, 21st ranked Auburn where White took down Rafael Rondino 6-2, 7-6(3) to clinch the match for the Bulldogs.

Paired with fellow teammate James Chaudry, White took down Alabama's pair of Proskura and Waltson to clinch the doubles point for MSU. In singles action, White ousted Ian Caldwell of the Crimson Tide 6-3, 6-1 to put the Bulldogs up 3-0 en route to a 5-2 victory over Alabama.

White's play this weekend assisted Mississippi State in their first ever SEC West title and has helped the Bulldogs to a 7-3 conference record this season. Compiling a 10-6 record on court 6 this spring, White has won seven out of his last nine matches and is now 7-3 in SEC play.

State will conclude their 2011 regular season on Saturday, April 16 as they play host to Ole Miss on Senior Day. Match time is slated for 1 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre where admission to all MSU home matches is free.


Baseball
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - When given a second chance, Mississippi State still could not overcome UAB. The Bulldogs and Blazers resumed a suspended baseball game Wednesday night at Young Memorial Field. The Blazers extended their original lead and held on for a 6-4 victory.

The Bulldogs dropped their third straight, while falling to 21-12. UAB improved to 20-13.

When the contest began on March 9th, the teams got to the sixth inning. Rain halted play with the homestanding Blazers leading 4-3 in the top half of the sixth inning. The Bulldogs had runners at first and second with no outs in the inning.

When play picked back up, a UAB error loaded the bases. Wes Thigpen drove home the game-tying run with a sacrifice fly. However, the Bulldogs stranded a pair of base runners and could not grab the lead.

UAB broke the tie with single scores in the seventh and eighth innings. For the Blazers, Ben Bullard dominated in relief. Bullard (4-0) worked the final three innings to earn the win. Bullard only allowed two base runners, while facing 11 batters and throwing 43 pitches.

With one out in the seventh, Ryan Collins had a single for MSU and Jarrod Parks reached as a hit batsman. From there, Bullard would retire the final eight Bulldogs in a row.

UAB grabbed the lead on a Jamal Austin RBI-single off Caleb Reed in the seventh inning. The insurance score came on a sacrifice-fly by Andrew Manning one at-bat later.

In the second inning, UAB struck first when Ryan Ussery doubled, Michael Busby walked and Jacob German followed with a two-run double.

The Bulldogs grabbed a 3-2 lead, thanks to a three-run inning off only one base hit in the third inning. Two walks and a hit batsman loaded the bases. Parks followed with a three-run double into the right field corner.

MSU starter Kendall Graveman was chased during UAB's two-run fifth inning. An RBI-single by Jamal Austin chased Graveman and tied the game 3-3. In relief, Andrew Busby was greeted by a go-ahead RBI-single by Patrick Palmeiro.

In the MSU sixth inning, Ryan Collins walked and Jonathan Ogden reached as a hit batsman before the rains hit.

MSU finished with three total hits. Parks had two hits and three RBIs in the game.

UAB finished with eight hits. Crawford, Austin and Palmeiro each had multiple hits.

Graveman was lifted in the fifth inning. Busby, Taylor Stark, Pollorena and Reed followed in relief, with Pollorena (3-2) facing two batters and taking the loss.

MSU travels to face No. 13 Arkansas this weekend in Southeastern Conference play. Game times from Baum Stadium are 7 p.m. Friday, 6:35 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday. The Friday contest will be televised regionally by SportSouth, while the Sunday contest will be televised by Cox Sports.


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