News from MSU Media Relations--Feb 23, 2012

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

Track and Field

Lady Bulldogs To Compete In Indoors SEC Championships

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Regular season competition has come to a close for the Mississippi State women's indoor track and field team, and championship season is beginning with a trip to the Bluegrass State for the 2012 Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, which begin Feb. 24.

"We have a good group of athletes traveling to Kentucky," coach Steve Dudley said. "If they go out there and compete at their highest level then I feel our time will be fruitful."

The quest for the school's first SEC Championship will take place in Kentucky's Nutter Field House and will begin Friday with the women's pentathlon. Action concludes on Sunday with the 4x400-meter relay.

This weekend's competition will mark the conclusion for a couple of athletes, while it will be a first for one Lady Bulldog. Wrapping up indoor competition will be seniors Jessica Merriweather, who will be competing in the high jump, and Favian Cowards, who will see her last SEC indoor action in the throws.

Kentucky may be an ending for Merriweather and Cowards, but it will be the first time that Erica Bougard partakes in championship level competition. Though only a freshman, Bougard has had quite an impressive season, as she has found her way into MSU's all-time lists in the pentathlon (3rd), triple jump (5th), long jump (4th) and is a member of the 4th place ranking 4x400-meter relay team.

SEC Indoor Championship competition will be streamed live by ESPN3 during the following times: Saturday, February 25 - 2:05-7:30 p.m. ET; Sunday, February 26 - 1:25-5:00 p.m. ET. The University of Kentucky will also stream live the portions of the meet not aired on ESPN3 on its web site Additionally, this weekend's completion will air as part of a 90-minute show on ESPNU on Sunday, March 11 from 4-5:30 p.m.

While the Lady Bulldogs are in Kentucky, a quartet of Bulldog athletes will be competing out west. Senior D'Angelo Cherry, junior Tavaris Tate and sophomores James Harris and Marcus Jackson will travel to Albuquerque, N.M., for the 2012 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships.


Diamond Dogs Meet Kansas, MVSU In Weekend Tourney At Dudy Noble Field

STARKVILLE, Miss. - With a season-opening series win over Washington State last weekend under its belt, Mississippi State (2-1) marches deeper into its 17-game homestand this weekend when the Bulldogs welcome Big 12 Conference foe Kansas (3-0) and instate SWAC rival Mississippi Valley State (0-3) for tournament competition at Dudy Noble Field.

The Bulldogs play the first of their four weekend games Friday evening, taking on the KU Jayhawks at 6:30 p.m. The six-game, three-day event gets started earlier in the day Friday when Kansas squares off against the MVSU Delta Devils at 2:30 p.m. State plays twice on Saturday (12 p.m./4 p.m.) and in the weekend finale Sunday (4 p.m.).

Live online video streaming of MSU's four weekend games is available to HailStateTV subscribers ( The broadcast of Friday's MSU-Kansas matchup will be carried on the statewide MSU Baseball Radio Network. Both MSU-MVSU games will be broadcast in the Golden Triangle on WKBB-FM (100.9) in West point, Miss., while Saturday afternoon's MSU-Kansas game will also be a local broadcast and heard on WNMQ-FM (103.1) in Columbus, Miss.

Sophomore right-hander Ben Bracewell (0-0, 0.00), MSU's opening-day starter last weekend against Washington State, will make his second career start in Friday night's opener against Kansas. The Jayhawks have tabbed freshman lefty Wes Benjamin (1-0, 1.29) for Friday's game-opening mound duty.

The MSU pitching staff registered 34 strikeouts in three opening-weekend games against WSU, including 19 in a 6-5, 13-inning loss. The Bulldogs out-hit the Cougars 37-23 and plated 16 runs for the weekend. State left 34 runners stranded in the series, including 16 in their lone setback of the year.

Junior Trey Porter hit .600 (6-for-10) on the weekend, pacing State with four runs scored, four RBI and MSU's first two home runs of the campaign. Sophomore third baseman Daryl Norris (.385) and senior outfielder Brent Brownlee (.333) collected five hits each. On the mound senior relief ace Caleb Reed tallied a career-high nine strikeouts in 6.1 innings of relief, while sophomore Evan Mitchell registered eight whiffs in 4.1 innings of relief work.

Kansas, in the midst of a 10-game season-opening road run, allowed just four runs last weekend in sweeping past Middle Tennessee State (7-3), Bowling Green (3-1) and Belmont (2-0) during a trip to Tennessee. Junior shortstop Kevin Kuntz went 5-for-10 to pace the Jayhawk offense.

Mississippi Valley State, after dropping an 11-2 decision Tuesday at Delta State, is making the first of two trips to Starkville for 2012. Coach Doug Shanks' Delta Devils return to Dudy Noble Field for an April 3 midweek contest.

The Bulldogs are 23-0 in all-time baseball matchups with Kansas (3-0) and MVSU (20-0). State bested Kansas 5-0 and 9-2 in the Jayhawks' only previous visit to Starkville during the 2005 NBC Classic.

Daily session general admission tickets are $5 each and will be on sale at the stadium ticket office beginning two hours prior to the first game each day.

Friday, February 24

  • Kansas vs. MVSU (2:30 p.m.)
  • Kansas vs. Mississippi State (6:30 p.m.)

    Saturday, February 25

  • MVSU vs. Mississippi State (12 p.m.)
  • Kansas vs. Mississippi State (4 p.m.)

    Sunday, February 26

  • MVSU vs. Kansas (11 a.m.)
  • MVSU vs. Mississippi State (4 p.m.).

    Men's Tennis

    No. 15 Bulldogs Set For Blue/Gray Classic

    STARKVILLE, Miss. - For the ninth time in MSU history, Mississippi State's 15th-ranked men's tennis squad (6-2) will head to Montgomery, Ala. to compete in the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic on Friday.

    Mississippi State, ranked 7th at the time, earned the Blue Gray Tennis Classic championship in 1992 by defeating then 8th-ranked North Carolina 5-3.

    This year's men's draw is a round robin tournament where the competing Southeastern Conference teams will face the non-SEC opponents and vice versa. After Sunday's round-robin matches have concluded, the two best teams will be chosen to face off in one doubles match to determine the 2012 men's champion.

    Three Southeastern Conference teams are competing in this year's tournament along with five non-SEC teams. The teams are: 14th-ranked Auburn, No. 15 Mississippi State, 21st-ranked Tennessee, 23rd-ranked Texas Tech, No. 44 Boise State, 49th-ranked Alabama, No. 59 Cornell and 66th-ranked Clemson.

    MSU will face-off on Friday at 8:30 CT against Cornell University for the first time in the two programs' history.

    A trio of seniors lead the way for the Bulldogs including 42nd-ranked George Coupland, #71 Artem Ilyushin and 83rd-ranked Louis Cant who is undefeated with a 7-0 mark on the season.

    Sophomore Malte Stropp, ranked 109th in the recent ITA poll, has combined a solid 5-2 start for the Bulldogs this season.

    In doubles, the 20th-ranked duo of Cant and Stropp lead the charge for State.

    Following Friday's match against Cornell, the Bulldogs will face Boise State on Saturday along with Texas Tech on Sunday. Matches will be played at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center in Montgomery, Ala.

    Live stats will be available at

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