News from MSU Media Relations--Mar. 2, 2012.

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

Softball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Rain gave way to runs Friday as the Mississippi State softball team run-ruled Columbia (1-1) and Louisiana Tech (7-9) in a doubleheader sweep on the opening day of the Bulldog Classic at the MSU Softball Stadium. The Maroon and White defeated the Lions by a score of 11-1 before pitching its second shutout of the season in an 8-0 victory over Tech. State has now run-ruled three-consecutive opponents for the first time in over eight years.

"I was really impressed with Misty Flesher in game one," head coach Vann Stuedeman said. "She settled in after the first inning and put up zeroes the rest of the game. Stephanie Becker putting up a shutout in game two has to make her feel great going into conference play Wednesday."

Redshirt senior Brittany Bell bounced back from an 0-for-3 performance Wednesday to finish the day 2-for-3 with seven RBIs, four runs and her second grand slam of the season. Sophomore third baseman Sam Lenahan continued where she left off at Jackson State, combining for three hits in two games, including three RBIs and three runs.

Mississippi State's pitching staff continued to lower its ERA, with redshirt senior Misty Flesher and junior Stephanie Becker picking up the wins. In the circle, Flesher struck out five batters in 5.0 innings of work in game one vs. the Lions, while Becker received the win over Tech after throwing 4.0 scoreless innings.

After a first-inning run by Columbia in the afternoon contest, MSU bounced back with a season-high tying eight-run inning. Junior left fielder Jessica Cooley led off the third with a home run that landed on Highway 182 behind the trees in left field. The bases then became loaded for Bell, who delivered with a bases-clearing double to the wall in left. Lenahan traded places with Bell with an RBI single to increase the lead to 5-1. The Bulldogs crowded the bases again, this time for sophomore center fielder Jessica Offutt, who executed a bunt single to score a run. The last two runs of the inning came on an error by the Lions' shortstop.

Holding a commanding 8-1 lead after three, MSU caged the Lions for good with a three-run fourth. Senior right fielder Brittany Gates reached first with a leadoff walk, but was pinch ran for by freshman Ashley Phillips. Phillips stole second and stayed there when Bell was hit by a pitch. After a double steal that put two Bulldogs in scoring position, Lenahan singled to right field, plating Phillips. Lenahan and Bell would score the final two runs of the game on a double to left-center field by junior first baseman Shelby Fisher.

State picked up where it left off in game two vs. Louisiana Tech, scoring two runs in the top of the first. Sophomore second baseman Heidi Shape ripped an RBI double to the gap in left for the initial lead. Bell scored the second run of the first frame after an error by the Tech shortstop.

The three-hole hitter returned to the dish in the bottom of the second, with the Bulldogs sitting on a 2-0 lead. With the bases loaded again for Bell, the native Floridian deposited a 2-1 offering over the fence in left for her first grand salami since opening night at South Alabama.

Starkville's team tacked on two more runs with an RBI single from Fisher and a bases-loaded walk by senior catcher Ka'ili Smith in the third inning.

Stuedeman's squad returns to the Dawg Diamond Saturday in a doubleheader against Columbia (11 a.m.) and Eastern Illinois (1 p.m.).

For more information regarding the Bulldog Classic, visit the official event page at HailState.com, follow the team on Twitter at @MStateSB and like the team at Facebook.com/MStateSB.


Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - What started back in November ends Saturday when Mississippi State closes out the regular season against Arkansas on Senior Day at Humphrey Coliseum.

MSU will honor senior players Dee Bost, Brian Bryant and Taylor Luczak, along with managers Ben Hurt and David Glass. In addition, at halftime MSU will unveil a banner honoring Jack Cristil, the longtime Voice of the Bulldogs who retired last season.

Tip is set for 4:07 p.m., and the game will be televised by SportSouth with Dave Neal and Larry Conley handling the broadcast.

"Senior Day is always a special day, but it's also important that we get the win," 14th-year MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. "It's our last game and it's a big game. For both teams."

The Bulldogs (20-10, 7-8) enter the contest coming off their 69-67 overtime win at South Carolina on Wednesday, a victory that snapped a five-game losing skid. In the outing, MSU had three players record a double-double for the first time in school history.

Arnett Moultrie had 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Renardo Sidney had 12 points and 14 boards, followed by Dee Bost with 13 points and 11 assists.

Brian Bryant lead MSU with 16 points, including the game winning shot at the buzzer on a floater in the lane.

"We're looking for momentum going into the SEC Tournament," Bost said. "It will be an emotional day, but at the same time we know how important it is to get a win."

Arkansas, which has lost 11-straight at the Hump, enters the game coming off a 77-75 home loss to Ole Miss on Tuesday. The Razorbacks (18-12, 6-9) are led in scoring by B.J. Young and Mardracus Wade at 15.3 and 10.8 points, respectively.

In the SEC opener in Fayetteville, the Hogs claimed a 98-88 win against MSU. In that outing, Deville Smith scored 25 points.

If MSU wins Saturday, it will be the No. 6 seed at next week's SEC Tournament in New Orleans and tip at 9 p.m. on Thursday. If the Bulldogs lose, they'll be the No. 9 seed and play at noon.


Women's Tennis
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Mississippi State Lady Bulldog tennis gave a valiant effort in their SEC opener, but the victory went to No. 25 ranked University of Alabama as the team secured a 6-1 triumph.

Alabama gained an early lead in the SEC showdown by securing victories at all three positions in doubles play. Antonia Foehse and Mary Anne Macfarlane notched the Crimson Tide's first victory on court two as the pair defeated MSU's Olesya Tsigvintseva and Naomi Tran 8-2. At the No. 1 position, Alexa Guarachi and Courtney McLane who are nationally ranked at #30 took down Alexandra Perper and Khrystyna Pavlyuk 8-3. Court three followed the same pattern as Taylor Lindsey and Yasmine Ebads of UA defeated Roseline Dion and Ekaterina Iakovleva 8-3.

As singles play began, Guarachi notched her second victory of the day as she defeated MSU's Iakovleva 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 2 position. Alabama took a 3-0 lead after McLane posted a 6-3, 6-2 victory against Tsigvinteva on court three.

Pavlyuk put the Lady Bulldogs on the board, posting a 6-4, 6-4 triumph against Alabama's Emily Zabor. Alabama shot down the chance of a momentum change for MSU as they clinched the victory with a 6-0, 3-6, 6-4 win for #21 Macfalane against #91 Perper of the Lady Bulldogs.

Alabama wrapped up Friday's match with victories at the No. 4 and No. 5 position bringing the final score to 6-1. On court four, MSU's Tran battled from a 6-3 los in the first set to win the second set 7-5, but Foehse notched the victory by taking the third set 6-1. Ferancova of the Lady Bulldogs fell in a similar fashion, as Alamaba's Lindsey posted a 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 victory.

The Lady Bulldogs will face their second SEC opponent of the spring as they take on Auburn away beginning at 12 p.m. on Sunday.

Updates for these matches can be found on twitter at @mstateWT. Live stats links can be found on hailstate.com.


Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Due to a wave of inclement weather, Mississippi State's 14th-ranked men's tennis squad's match-up with No. 46 Alabama has been rescheduled for Saturday morning at 10 a.m. CT at the A. J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

The Bulldogs hold a five-match win streak headed into the match with a 9-2 overall record while the Crimson Tide stands at 5-4. In their extensive history, MSU holds a 44-32 record over Alabama with the Bulldogs taking a 5-2 decision in last spring's match-up in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Live stats will be available at www.hailstate.com. Also, follow @mstateMT on Twitter for live updates.


Soccer
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's spring soccer tour continues Saturday as Neil Macdonald's Bulldogs head to Ridgeland to host a free clinic beginning at 1 p.m.

The clinic will be held at Freedom Ridge Park for players ages 8-12. The first 50 attendees will receive a free MSU Soccer T-shirt.

"Our team is looking forward to conducting the clinic in Ridgeland," Macdonald said. "Jackson is a community that really embraces soccer, and with a great base of Bulldog fans in the area, we are excited to be doing our part in helping the sport's continued development there."

Saturday's trek will be the final one in the state this spring. MSU heads to Samford on April 4 before challenging Alabama in Tuscaloosa on April 13.

State wraps the exhibition slate April 21 with the annual Alumni Match beginning at 10 a.m. as part of Super Bulldog Weekend presented by Regions Bank.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's soccer camps offer quality instruction for the beginner and advanced soccer player in a fun environment, and the 2012 slate promises more of the same with three different camps over June and July.

State's camp slate includes Youth Day Camps June 4-8 and July 23-27, the third annual Striker-Keeper Camp (Residential or Commuter) - June 22-24 and Girls College Prep Camps May 5-6 and July 27-29.

Registration forms, camp schedules and additional information can be found online at www.hailstate.com/camps or by contacting MSU assistant coach Andy Manners at amanners@athletics.msstate.edu or (662) 418-7694.

The Youth Day Camps will run 1 p.m.-4 p.m. for ages 4-7 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for ages 8-13. Cost for the afternoon session is $129, while the day-long camp will be $239 per camper. The full-day camp includes lunch each day. Camp registration for both age groups includes an MSU camp T-shirt and a soccer ball.

The day camps, which will be held at the MSU Soccer Field, are designed to meet the needs of the youth soccer player in a safe and fun learning environment. During the week-long camps, campers will work on developing soccer fundamentals such as dribbling, turning, shooting, passing, shielding, running with the ball, heading and goalkeeping.

Mississippi State head coach Neil Macdonald, along with Manners, fellow assistant coach Myranda Sanders and volunteer assistant coach Robbie Kroger, will be conducting the Striker-Keeper Camp for the third-straight year after stellar reviews in the camp's first two years. The camp, which is open to players ages 8-18, costs $199 for commuters and $249 for residential. The camp will focus on building the fundamental skills of beginner or experienced strikers and goalkeepers.

Strikers will work on dribbling to shoot, moving off the ball to create scoring opportunities, finishing, shooting and attacking headers. Goalkeepers will focus on shot handling, diving, defending crosses and breakaways, foot skills and distribution from Kroger, a 20-year veteran goalkeeper.

The Girls College Prep Camp will give each camper an insight as to what it's like to be an MSU student-athlete. The May 5-6 camp is a non-residential camp, with numerous hotels located in the vicinity of Mississippi State. Campers attending the July 27-29 session will be housed in either the University's state-of-the-art Zacharias Village or the Butler Guest House.

The focus of the Girls College Prep Camp will be further developing the technical and tactical skills of high school and club players ages 14-18. The camp will feature training with the MSU coaching staff; question and answer sessions with the coaching, academic and strength and conditioning staffs; and games on the MSU Soccer Field.


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