Senior left-hander Stephanie Becker pitched her second-straight complete-game shutout at home as the Mississippi State softball team (31-16) defeated Mississippi Valley State (18-27), 1-0, on an unusually chilly Wednesday night at the MSU Softball Stadium. With the win, MSU Head Coach Vann Stuedeman improved to a perfect 13-0 against in-state opponents during her tenure in Starkville.
"It was a great outing by Stephanie Becker," Stuedeman said. "Mississippi Valley always plays us a great game. We knew we were going to have to need some good pitching to quiet their bats."
Becker was dominant in her circle, shutting out the Devilettes for her third complete-game scoreboard blanking of the season. The southpaw yielded only three hits and tied a career high with 13 strikeouts and zero walks. Valley's Alicia Lorenz suffered the loss, dropping to 9-15 on the year.
State's only run of the game came on an RBI single by senior right fielder Jessica Cooley (1-for-2) in the third inning. The game-winning run was scored by freshman Loryn NIchols, who tied a career high with two hits and was surprised during the game by her parents, who flew from California Wednesday afternoon to watch the speedy center fielder win the game.
The win continued Stuedeman's non-conference dominance the last two seasons. Starkville's skipper won her 37th non-SEC game in her last 44 tries Wednesday, improving her non-conference mark to 24-5 this season.
Up next for the Maroon and White is a critical three-game conference clash against South Carolina, in a battle which will help determine who makes the SEC Tournament next month. The Bulldogs host the Gamecocks Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Admission is free, but for those who cannot attend, free live audio as well as video will be available online to HailStateTV subscribers (www.HailState.com/hstvlive).
For live in-game updates of the series, follow the program on Twitter at @MStateSB. For pictures, like the team on Facebook at Facebook.com/MStateSB and visit the team's Instagram account at MStateSB. For pregame and postgame video, check out MSU's official YouTube channel at YouTube.com/HailState.
Mississippi State Women's Tennis true freshman Georgiana Patrasc has been named to the 2013 All-Southeastern Conference Team, released Wednesday by the league office. Patrasc earned second-team honors.
A native of Bacau, Romania, Patrasc ended her initial campaign in college 18-15 overall in singles and 9-12 in doubles. She was 10-11 in singles dual matches this spring, all coming at the No. 1 and 2 positions in the Lady Bulldog lineup, and was 8-7 in dual match doubles play.
"Georgiana has had a solid freshman year," said head coach Daryl Greenan. "Earning All SEC status is a great honor. The players given this award are among the best in the country. It is an outstanding achievement for her to make this list as a freshman."
Patrasc defeated three ranked foes, two in the top 50 and attained her first career singles ranking on March 26, coming in at No. 124 nationally. In the latest ITA poll release Tuesday, she was a career-high No. 116.
The rookie was the match-clinching point in four of State's nine wins this spring and she won seven of 11 matches at one point during the dual match season.
Patrasc is the first Lady Bulldog tennis player to earn All-SEC honors since 2007 and the ninth overall.
Track and Field
Recently topping the rankings in ten individual events, Mississippi State track and field looks to continue its positive momentum as it travels to Philadelphia for the distinguished Penn Relays on April 25-27.
Hosted by the University of Pennsylvania at Franklin Field, the event is in its 119th year after debuting on April 21, 1895. The Penn Relays is the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States.
"The Penn Relays are one of the premier track and field events," MSU coach Steve Dudley said. "Some of the best athletes in the world will be competing, and there is an energy that surrounds the track that is just electric. It is one of those places where every athlete needs to compete at least once in their career."
This year's edition of the Penn Relays features athletes from 34 states and 11 countries, including Jamaica and Puerto Rico. Six other Southeastern Conference teams will also join the Bulldogs in Philadelphia, including Auburn, Kentucky, LSU, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
Action kicks off for Dudley's squads on Thursday and will conclude on Saturday with the highly anticipated 'USA vs. World' events. NBC will televise these particular events on Saturday afternoon live from 12-2 p.m. CT, and competition can also be seen live on NBC Universal that day from 2-4 p.m. CT.
The Bulldogs' sixth-ranked 400-meter relay team will lace up on the final day of the meet at 5 p.m., as the weekend is capped with the Championship of America 400-meter relays. The foursome, which includes Tavaris Tate, Brandon McBride, Daundre Barnaby and Randy Patterson, will seek to beat a season-best time of 3:05.35 that they clocked last month at the Texas Relays in Austin.
This weekend marks the last opportunity for the Maroon and White to compete before heading to the 2013 SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted by Missouri on May 9-12.
For live updates on the Penn Relays, follow the Bulldogs on Twitter (@msutracksarah) and visit thepennrelays.com.