News from MSU Media Relations--Apr. 17

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

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Ka'ili Smith, Sam Lenahan and Heidi Shape each collected hits as the Mississippi State softball team closed a three-game SEC road series against No. 3 Alabama with a tough 5-2 setback.

The loss dropped MSU to 21-24 overall and 8-11 in SEC play. Alabama improved to 41-5 and 15-4 in the league with the series sweep.

Smith sparked the Bulldogs to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Kapolei, Hawaii, native went 4-for-9 (.444) on the weekend with a double and a pair of RBI. She also scored twice in the three-game set.

With two out in the opening frame, Smith dropped a single into left field. She moved to third on a pair of errors by UA third baseman Kaila Hunt, and scored on a wild pitch from Crimson Tide starter Kelsi Dunne.

Dunne (20-2) allowed one earned run (two total) on three hits while striking out 11.

Bulldog starter Stephanie Becker fell to 6-5 on the season as she was touched for five runs (four earned) and eight hits while striking out five. Four of Alabama's runs came with two out.

"I thought we did a good job getting run on the scoreboard in the first inning. It was a lot like the first game yesterday in that we took a called third strike to leave a runner at third," Mississippi State head coach Jay Miller said. "Stephanie pitched another good game. She hung a couple of pitches and they hit them out, and that was the difference in the game."

Alabama answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first as Jennifer Fenton and Whitney Larsen reached on back-to-back, one-out singles. Fenton scored on an Amanda Locke two-out base hit, and Larsen gave the Tide the lead as she reached on an infield error.

Locke extended the lead to 3-1 as she opened the bottom of the fourth with a home run. The Crimson Tide added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth on a Kendall Dawson two-run home run.

State kept fighting, however, and tried to mount a rally in the top of the seventh. With one out, Lenahan belted a single down the line in left field. Shape advanced her with a base hit to right-center, and after a Chelsea Raines walk loaded the bases, Lenahan scored on a Briana Bell groundout to third to cut the lead to 5-2.

The Dawgs' comeback attempt fell short, however, as a groundout stranded a pair of Bulldog runners in scoring position.

Men's Golf
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - The Mississippi State men's golf team concluded its season at the Southeastern Conference Championships with an 11th place finish after firing a 294 in the third and final round of the event, which was played at the par-70 Seaside Course in St. Simons Island, Ga. Sophomore Brad Mason highlighted the Bulldogs' day with a 70.

The Bulldogs fired a 293 in the final round. It was the best round the linksters posted in event and ties the best final round of the spring season.

Freshman Axel Boasson finished atop the Bulldog leaderboard with a three-day total of 220 strokes to earn a 30th-place finish. Fellow freshman Chad Ramey tallied a 225, while Mason followed him with a 226. Junior Lee Heaton and sophomore Robi Calvesbert finished with a 234 and 237, respectively.

The Florida Gators were crowned SEC Tournament champions after an 8-over-par 848 performance. Alabama earned runner-up honors.

The Bulldogs end the season with six top 10 finishes and four individual top 10 finishes.

Women's Golf
Auburn, Ala. - Mississippi State's women's golf squad fired a 316 in the final round of the SEC Championship Sunday to finish 12th in the tournament held at the University Club in Auburn. The Lady Bulldogs finished the three-day event with a 955-team score.

"Obviously I'm disappointed with our performance," MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. "It was not indicative of the progress we made this year. Nine of the twelve teams participating were in the Top 25, which requires a certain experience level that we do not have yet. Our two seniors didn't have a strong event, but they led our team with their work ethic, motivation and desire to perform better. This has proved to be the beginning of our ascent into a competitive program in the best conference in America."

Senior Erika Thornton once again led the Lady Bulldogs with a 235 performance. It is the 18th tournament in which she has led MSU. She finishes her career with the eighth-most career round played (104) and eighth-lowest scoring average (76.93). Her 76.18 stroke average for the season is also 12th-lowest.

Sophomore Maria Roos notched a 5-over-par 77 to total 239. Freshman Mary Langdon Gallagher and Esther Huffman turned in a 242 and 244, respectively, in their first SEC Tournament, while Mallory Batson card a 249 in her final appearance. Batson finishes her career with 10th-most 99 rounds played.

The Auburn Tigers earned SEC Tournament champion honors with an 864, while Alabama garnered runner-up honors. Erikca Popson of Tennessee led every round of the three-day event en route to individual championship laurels with a 6-under-par 210.

The Lady Bulldogs complete to 2010-2011 season with four top-10 finishes and 12 top-25 individual finishes. The team posted eight new records in the MSU record book and 12 new individual records.

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