News from MSU Media Relations--Feb 5, 2012

The latest sports news from the Mississippi State Athletics Media Relations Department...Track and Field, Baseball and Men's Tennis.

Track and Field

MSU Has Impressive Finish At New Balance Invitational

NEW YORK, NY- At the end of the New Balance Invitational, it was clear that Mississippi State's track and field team showed the nation they were a force to be reckoned with. When all was said and done the Maroon and White had finished with four victories and at least a Top 15 finish in every event in which they competed.

"We lined up against some of the best in the nation this weekend," coach Steve Dudley said. "That could have easily intimidated our athletes, but instead they used it as motivation and at the end of the day they showed everyone that they belong among that level of competition."

Jessica Merriweather was the first Lady Bulldog to enter competition, as she jumped 5-08 ¾ to finish fourth in the high jump and set a new all-time record for MSU. Following Merriweather's impressive finish was Favian Cowards (59-03) who finished 11th in the weight throw. Finishing one spot better than Cowards was Jody-Ann Muir whose time of 54.81 placed her tenth in the 400-meter dash.

It was an equally impressive day for the Bulldogs who competed in four individual events and brought home victories in each one. James Harris (7-05 ¼) was first up for the Maroon and White as he claimed top honors and set a new MSU all-time record in the high jump, finishing just ahead of teammate Marcus Jackson (7-01 ¾) who was second. Claiming MSU's second victory was Tavaris Tate who ran 20.93 in the 200-meter dash, while Daundre Barnaby ran 46.94 to cross the line first in the 400-meter dash.

Closing out the day were the men's and women's 4x400-meter relay teams. First up was Ocian Archer, Brittney Covington, Erica Bougard and Muir who ran 3:43.50 to finish 10th. Immediately following the Lady Bulldogs was the men's foursome of Harris, Barnaby, Emanuel Mayers and Tate whose time of 3:08.50 placed them second.

"I am proud of the effort we gave this weekend," Dudley stated. "We competed with excellence and our hard work paid off, but we cannot get complacent. We have to continue the hard work as we go into the rest of our season and as we continue our quest for nationals."

Upon return home, MSU will begin preparations for their next meet, the UAB-Samford Invitational in Birmingham on Feb. 10-11.


MSU Baseball Student Spirit Group Meeting Set For Tuesday

STARKVILLE, Miss. - A new student-based spirit group supporting Mississippi State University's baseball team will make its debut at Dudy Noble Field during the upcoming 2012 baseball season.

An initial information meeting for the new group, The Dudes, is scheduled Tuesday evening (February 7, 6 p.m.) in the Palmeiro Center. Head baseball coach John Cohen will address the gathering of prospective members and explain the goals and plans for the group. Jersey-replica T-shirts will be given to participants.

"We want to give our students an opportunity to be a part of the Mississippi State baseball program and to become more of a presence with their support at Dudy Noble Field," said Cohen. Grandstand seating opportunities and other benefits for members will be presented at Tuesday's meeting.

The new spirit group will work in partnership with the Bulldog Coalition, an existing student support organization at Mississippi State.

Mississippi State's oldest sport launches its 122nd season and a school-record 37-game home slate next weekend when the Bulldogs host the Washington State Cougars Feb. 17-19 in a three-game series at Dudy Noble Field, Polk-DeMent Stadium. Season ticket sales through Friday have climbed to 5,277 and continue through the MSU Athletic Ticket Office (662-325-2600 /

Men's Tennis

#14 State Tennis Downs #46 TCU 4-1 Through Rain-Plagued Weekend

STARKVILLE, Miss. - After two long days of rain delay, Mississippi State's 14th-ranked men's tennis team (5-2) posted a 4-1 decision over the No. 46 Horned Frogs of TCU (1-3) on Saturday, starting the match in Starkville and completing it indoors in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The match, originally scheduled for Friday, was postponed to Saturday morning at 10 a.m. due to rain. The match got started on time Saturday and, in an impressive showing during doubles play, the 12th-ranked MSU tandem of Louis Cant and Malte Stropp breezed through their TCU foe in Nick Chappell and J.T. Sundling 8-1 to take the early match in the top spot.

However, the doubles point would not end quickly as the Horned Frogs were battling in the No. 2 and 3 positions. The TCU duo of Paul Chappell and Will Stein battled James Chaudry and Ethan Wilkinson on court 3. With the match in a tight dual at 6-6 and TCU holding serve, the Bulldogs could not break back as Chappell and Stein took the match 8-6 allowing the doubles decision to be made on court 2.

With the match also tight in the two spot, the Bulldog tandem of George Coupland and Artem Ilyushin took an early 3-1 lead over TCU's Daniel Sanchez and Blake Wiggins. However, the Horned Frogs battled back to take the 4-3 lead and hold serve to 6-6 until the Bulldogs broke back 7-6. With Coupland serving for the match and the doubles point, the Dogs took the 8-6 victory on court 2 and the doubles point putting MSU up 1-0 headed into singles action.

As most singles play progressed into late in the first set midday Saturday, rain began pouring on the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre with only one first set decided. With the inclement weather persisting, the match was moved to the University of Alabama's Indoor Tennis Complex in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The teams resumed play at 3:15 Saturday afternoon, and the first to finish play in singles was the 90th-ranked Stropp of MSU. On court 3, he took an easy decision from TCU's Max Stevens 6-0, 6-3 extending the Bulldogs' lead to 2-0.

Also taking an easy two-setter for the Bulldogs was No. 32 Coupland in the fifth spot. Ousting P. Chappell of TCU, Coupland earned a 6-4, 6-2 victory, giving the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.

However, the Horned Frogs answered on court 6 where Facundo Lugones squared off with MSU's Zach White. Being down 5-3 in the first, White fought his way to a 6-6 tiebreaker where his efforts fell short as he dropped in the first 7-6(4). Lugones took a 6-4 decision in the second to give TCU their only point of the day with the match at 3-1.

Clinching the match for the Bulldogs was the 79th-ranked Chaudry on No. 2. Taking the easy first set 6-3 from Sundling, the second would prove to be a battle. Dualing back-and-forth to a 5-5 score, Chaudry earned a break for a 6-5 advantage to serve for the match. However, Sundling would break back and send the second set to a tiebreaker. The tiebreaker would be decided in the same fashion as neither player would not give in. However, with the match at 7-7, Chaudry would take the last two points to decide the match 6-3, 7-6(7) and clinch the match for the Bulldogs 4-1.

With matches still out on courts 1 and 3, all play was suspended at that point. In the top spot for the Bulldogs was Ilyushin where he faced TCU's N. Chappell. Chappel led 4-1 in the third set. On court 3 for the Dogs was the 45th-ranked Cant where he had battled back over his Horned Frog foe, Sanchez. Cant led 5-1 in the third set when play was suspended.

Next up for the Bulldogs is the annual River Hills Cup in Jackson, Miss., against their in-state rival, Ole Miss. The match is scheduled for Thursday, February 9, at 5 p.m. CT at River Hills Club.

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