News from MSU Media Relations--Mar. 10, 2012.

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

Softball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Picture-perfect weather hovered above a pitchers' duel Saturday afternoon as Mississippi State fell, 2-0, to No. 7 Georgia in front of a capacity crowd at the MSU Softball Stadium. The Maroon and White fell to 15-8 overall (1-3 SEC), while the visiting Bulldogs improved to 20-3 (1-1) in 2012.

"Stephanie Becker gave us another great outing," head coach Vann Stuedeman said. "She just did another fantastic job. We tip our hat to Erin Arevalo of Georgia for throwing a great game. We definitely had some opportunities and we will have to learn how to capitalize on those."

Becker was the hard-luck loser in the duel, falling to 8-3 after surrendering two runs on five hits with two strikeouts and no walks. Fellow junior left-handed pitcher Kylie Vry stepped inside the circle for the first time since Feb. 26, keeping MSU in the game with 2.1 scoreless innings to close the contest.

State registered seven hits on the day, but left seven on base. Seniors Ka'ili Smith (2-for-4) and Brittany Bell (2-for-3) paced the offense with two singles each. Sophomore second baseman Heidi Shape (1-for-3), redshirt sophomore Erin Nesbit (1-for-3) and sophomore center fielder Jessica Offutt (1-for-2) each tallied singles as well.

Knotted in a scoreless tie after three, Georgia plated one run in both the fourth and the fifth inning. To start the fourth frame, UGA left fielder Niaja Griffin doubled down the left-field line. After Becker retired three-hole hitter Tess Sito and cleanup batter Kristyn Sandberg with two pop flies in foul territory, designated player Ashley Razey drove Griffin in with a single to center.

Clinging to a slim 1-0 margin heading into the fifth, the visitors from Athens doubled their lead with a solo home run by third baseman Gracie Goulder that fell just over the left-field wall.

Down to its last out, Starkville's team had one last chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh. Freshman Ashley Phillips pinch hit for Offutt and took a 3-2 offering for a base on balls. With Phillips on first and Smith representing the tying run at the dish, the senior catcher grounded out to first unassisted on a full count for the final play of the game.

The rubber game of the series takes place Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Dawg Diamond. Live video streaming of the game will be available online to HailStateTV subscribers (www.HailState.com/hstvlive).

Military Sunday will feature the popular Bulldog Bingo and Movie Trivia events. As always, softball aficionados will have the chance to win a Vanntastic t-shirt with every extra-base hit.

For more informationregarding the showdown, follow the team on Twitter at @MStateSB and like the team at Facebook.com/MStateSB.


Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's 12th-ranked men's tennis squad (11-4, 2-1 SEC) heads to Knoxville, Tenn. to take on the No. 19 Tennessee Volunteers (8-8, 1-2 SEC) in their second SEC road match on Sunday.

With MSU taking a 6-1 decision over the then fourth-ranked Vols in Starkville last spring, their highest win since beating the No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats in 2002, Tennessee holds a 32-13 advantage over the Bulldogs in the series.

State is led by a trio of ranked seniors including No. 27 Artem Ilyushin, 37th-ranked Louis Cant and No. 41 George Coupland. Also in the rankings for MSU is 75th-ranked sophomore Malte Stropp.

Cant and Stropp lead the charge for MSU in doubles as they are tagged with a No. 23 ranking in the latest ITA poll.

For Tennessee, 36th-ranked Mikelis Libietis heads up singles rankings followed by No. 95 Hunter Reese. Libietis and Reese also lead the Vols in doubles as they are ranked 17th in the country.

Match time is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. CT at the Goodfriend Tennis Center on Tennessee's campus.P> Live stats will be available through www.hailstate.com. Also, follow @mstateMT on Twitter for match updates.


Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - After falling in SEC home competition on Friday against No. 7 Georgia, Mississippi State's women's tennis team returns to action Sunday looking to rebound, taking on No. 8 Tennessee. Sunday's match is set to begin at 1 p.m. CT at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

MSU is led by sophomore Alexandra Perper, who is currently ranked 91st nationally in singles. Perper dropped a heartbreaking three-set affair against Georgia's 11th-ranked Chelsey Gullickson on Friday.

Tennessee, which was upset at No. 25 Ole Miss Friday, will challenge the Lady Bulldogs with two ranked singles players as well as three top 20 doubles pairs. Sophomore Brynn Boren of the Lady Vols comes in at No. 35 in the latest ITA rankings. In doubles, UT's highest ranked pair is Natalie Pluskota and Caitlyn Williams (No. 9 in the ITA rankings).

Updates will be available through twitter @mstateWT. Live stats can be found through hailstate.com


Men's Golf
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Freshman Fletcher Johnson posted a 71 in the second round of the Seminole Intercollegiate to climb into the Top 25, while the Mississippi State men's golf team fought to within two strokes of its seventh-consecutive Top 10 finish.

In only his third tournament appearance of his young career, Johnson is on pace to post his third straight Top 25 finish. After opening with a 1-over-par 72 during Friday's first round, the Tupelo native used a team-best 71 to climb from tied for 30th to a share of 19th-place.

MSU posted a 6-over-par 293 in during the second round at the Southwood Golf Club. Riding a streak of six straight Top 10 finishes, the Bulldogs trail Charlotte by a single stroke with 18 holes remaining. State has not turned in seven straight Top 25's since the 2007-08 season.

Fourth-ranked Georgia Tech holds a five-stroke lead over host-Florida State entering Sunday's final round.

Chad Ramey chased Johnson into the clubhouse with a 1-over-par 72 and is just two strokes away from his own Top 25 finish.

John Darden and Clay Bounds each posted two-round 149's while Alex Rowland trailed the duo by one stroke, posting a two-day 150.

Individually, Florida State Seminole Chase Seifert leads the field with an 8-under-par 134.

Final round action begins Sunday at 7 a.m. CST with live stats available through hailstate.com

Fans can also follow Mississippi State golf on Twitter @mstateMG and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mstateMG.


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