STARKVILLE, Miss. - Redshirt senior Brittany Bell and sophomore third baseman Sam Lenahan each went 2-for-2, but it was not enough as the No. 12/11 Tennessee Lady Volunteers defeated Mississippi State in five innings, 8-0, Sunday afternoon at the MSU Softball Stadium. The Bulldogs end the weekend with an 18-15 overall record and a 3-10 mark inside the Southeastern Conference, while the visitors improved to 23-7 in 2012 and 7-4 in conference play.
"It was a tough day three playing against a great Tennessee team that is extremely offensive," head coach Vann Stuedeman said. "I thought (Stephanie) Becker came out for us today and was a whole lot better than Friday night. She was able to work out of some jams early in the game."
Becker fell to 10-7 on this year's campaign, giving up six runs (four earned) on six hits and six walks. The southpaw's two unearned runs came in UT's six-run fourth inning, where the Big Orange also scored two unearned off redshirt senior righty Misty Flesher, who recorded the final two outs of the inning. Fellow senior Lindsey Dunlap finished the game for the Bulldogs without allowing a hit for the second-consecutive appearance. The Lady Vols' Ivy Renfroe notched the win in the circle, improving to 6-6 on the season with a five-hit complete-game shutout.
State's bats knocked out just two fewer hits than the visitors from Rocky Top, but like Friday failed to put a run on the scoreboard thanks to flawless UT defense and a lack of timely hitting. Both Bell (second) and Lenahan (fourth) doubled to start off innings, but State could not capitalize. Also recording a hit against Renfroe was leadoff hitter Ka'ili Smith (1-for-3), who hit .375 on the weekend (3-for-8 with two walks).
After the visitors scored once in the top half of both the second and third inning, they opened up the floodgates in the fourth with a six-run stanza. Nine-hole hitter Tory Lewis walked to start the frame and then stole second, eventually scoring when teammate Raven Chavanne bunted to Bell at first base. Bell, who was making her first career start at first, threw the ball past second baseman Heidi Shape at first into right field, causing Lewis to score and Chavanne to advance to second. A double to left by right fielder Kat Dotson put runners at the corners for UT, before Chavanne scored on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Madison Shipman. With Dotson tagging from second and advancing to third on the sac fly, Becker issued a full-count walk to cleanup hitter Lauren Gibson before Stuedeman called time and replaced the Chicago native with Flesher.
With Flesher now in the ballgame and two Lady Vols on base, left fielder Melissa Davin hit a sharp bouncer down the third-base line. Lenahan attempted to field it, but the ball brushed off her glove in fair territory and trickled toward the home dugout. The Bulldog sophomore sprinted after it, but Dotson was able to come around from second and score by the time Lenahan recovered the ball. With Gibson on third and Davin on second as a result of the error, designated player Shelby Burchell laced a ball through the right side of the infield for a bases-clearing two-RBI single. Burchell then raced to second when catcher Ashley Andrews reached first on a wild pitch from a swinging strikeout. With two outs, Lewis came to bat for the second time in the inning and hit a sharp grounder to shortstop. State shortstop Erin Nesbit threw it hard and low to Bell, as the ball bounced into foul territory and allowed Burchell to score the final run of the game.
With the weekend over with, Starkville's team will now travel Wednesday to Itta Bena, Miss., for a 5 p.m. midweek matchup against the Devilettes of Mississippi Valley State. Free live and audio streaming of game will be available online to HailStateTV subscribers (www.HailState.com/hstvlive).
For more information regarding MSU softball, follow the team on Twitter at @MStateSB and like the team at Facebook.com/MStateSB.
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Mississippi State Lady Bulldog tennis fell 4-0 to the South Carolina Gamecocks in a conference match that was cut short due to troubling weather.
The Sunday match was postponed 50 minutes before it ever began due to rain. Once doubles action began, South Carolina quickly took control, posting victories on all three courts beginning with Anya Morgan and Jaklin Alawi's 8-5 triumph against MSU's Alexandra Perper and Naomi Tran.
Court three followed as Josefin Andersson and Katerina Popova took down Rosline Dion and Petra Feranciva in an 8-2 decision. The final doubles victory went to Adriana Pereira and Dominika Kanakova at the No. 2 position as they defeated Ekaterina Iakovleva and Olesya Tsigvintseva of the Lady Bulldogs, 8-4.
Mississippi State was able to take an early 3-1 lead on three courts in singles play, but before rainfall caused the remaining matches indoors, Alawi of South Carolina had secured a 7-5 first set victory at the No. 2 position, and Iakovleva and USC's Kanakova were locked at a 5-5 tie. Alexandra Perper of MSU was able to claim her first set 6-4 on court one.
As the matches moved indoors, South Carolina gained composure and was able to secure the first singles point with a 6-3, 6-0 victory for Popova on court four against Naomi Tran of the Lady Bulldogs. The Gamecocks took a 3-0 overall lead following Alawi's 7-5, 6-2 triumph against MSU's Tsigvintseva. Pereira clinched USC's third conference victory, notching a 6-0, 6-0 win against freshman Ferancova.
Before USC had secured the 4-0 victory, Perper ended up falling 6-4 in the second set on court one to Morgina. Iakovleva had defeated Kanakova 7-3 in a first set tiebreaker, and No. 5 singles had just begun to warm up.
"It was a tough match today. Sasha continues to compete well against the best players in the country. Kate played strong and was on her way to a win. We competed well in a couple other positions. We just need to keep working hard to get ourselves ready for the remainder of our challenging SEC schedule," coach Daryl Greenan said.
The Lady Bulldogs will be back in action Friday March 30 as they take on No. 49 LSU, followed by Sunday match against No. 37 Arkansas.
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - For the third-consecutive year and fourth time in six years, Mississippi State men's golf coach Clay Homan claimed the prestigious Bob Travis Memorial Trophy by winning the Mid Amateur Championship with a 6-under-par 210 in the 54-hole event hosted at the Hattiesburg Country Club on Sunday.
Homan's previous championships came at Colonial Country Club in Jackson (2007), Laurel (2010), and Dancing Rabbit in Philadelphia, Miss., (2011).
The 10th-year Bulldog head coach trailed Robert Willis by two strokes for the tournament lead heading into Sunday's final round, but Homan used an eagle on the ninth hole to climb into first-place and secure yet another win.
Homan is MSU's second-most winningest coach in the program's 39-year history. He has coached two of his past four squads to an NCAA Regional appearance and one NCAA Championship event. The 2011-12 Maroon and White team is currently on pace to record a third NCAA Regional appearance.
The Bulldogs return to action April 2 in Madison, Miss., at the BancorpSouth Reunion Intercollegiate hosted by Ole Miss at the Reunion Golf and Country Club.
STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. - Looking for its first Top 10 finish of the spring season, the Mississippi State women's golf team travels to the Atlanta suburbs for the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate hosted at the par-72, 6,047-yard Eagles Landing Country Club.
The Georgia State-hosted event is the only two-day, 54-hole tournament the Lady Bulldogs will play in this season. MSU opens with 36 holes on Monday followed by 18 on Tuesday and will face Campbell, Daytona State College, East Tennessee State, Furman, Georgia State, Maryland, Murray State, Nova Southeastern, Jacksonville State and Western Carolina.
In each of the previous two appearances in this tournament, the Lady Bulldogs have posted Top 10 finishes in both. The 2008 John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate produced a fifth-place finish while the 2011 event yielded a seventh-place card.
For coach Ginger Brown-Lemm's Lady Bulldogs, the ninth-ranked freshman trio of Ally McDonald, Rica Tse and Elena Warren will lead the travel contingent along with Perry Katherine Furr and Mary Langdon Gallagher.
Lauded as a Top 10 class by Golfstat.com's Freshman Class Impact Rankings, McDonald, Tse and Warren look to continue the Lady Bulldogs surge up the collegiate rankings.
In last year's event, Gallagher notched a fifth-place, 3-over-par 219 card. The Greenwood-native's first-round 69 ties for the fourth-best opening round in Maroon and White history. Both her 36-hole and 54-hole scores rank in the Top 25 in MSU laurels.
Live stats will be available through HailState.com following Monday's 8 a.m. shotgun start.
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