LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Jessie Bailey's double in the top of the sixth inning snapped a scoreless tie and propelled Mississippi State (5-1) to a 1-0 victory over BYU in the opening game of the UNLV Louisville Slugger Desert Classic.
Kelli Miller scattered nine hits over six innings to improve to 4-0, and Sara Hickerson earned her second save of the season. Miller increased her scoreless streak to 23.1 innings.
After being held to just two hits through the first six innings, MSU broke through in the seventh. Sammie Jo Bailey reached on a fielding error by the shortstop, and was replaced by Rachel Hurley. Katie Cooley then singled, putting runners at first and second with no out. After Blair Hewett struck out, Jessie Bailey doubled to right field, snapping the tie.
Both teams squandered opportunities in the early innings. In the first inning, Chelsea Bramlett had a leadoff single and stole second. After Nakita Boyce struck out, Courtney Bures reached on an error, and Bramlett advanced to third. But, Sammie Jo Bailey struck out, and Katie Cooley grounded to third, ending in the inning.
In the bottom of the second, Kelli Miller retired the first two batters. The Bulldogs seemed to be out of the inning when Angeline Quiocho grounded to third. But Sammie Jo Bailey dropped the throw, allowing Quiocho to reach. She then stole second, and Christie Zinanti singled, putting runners at the corners. But, Miller got Jennifer Whiteley to ground to second, ending the threat.
An inning later, after Miller got the leadoff batter out, BYU used three consecutive singles to load the bases. Miller, however, got Tracee Hoch to hit into a fielder's choice, and Jodi Norton grounded to second to get out of the inning.
The Cougars again threatened in the sixth. With one out, Daniela Urincho singled and Quiocho doubled. But, for the third time, Miller buckled down, getting Zinanti and Whiteley to end the rally.
Mississippi State returns to action Friday at 11 a.m. (CT) when the face No. 10/No.11 Cal, followed by Cal-Davis at 5 p.m. (CT).
MOBILE, Ala. - Mississippi State's women's tennis team fell 5-2 to No. 73 South Alabama Thursday afternoon at the Bruce Davil Lubel Memorial Courts. The Lady Bulldogs dropped to 2-2 on the year while USA improved to 2-4.
The Jaguars gained the opening point in doubles at courts #1 and #3. The lone doubles victory for State came from the tandem of Renee Joseph and Daniela Juskova. The MState tandem topped the Jaguar duo of Jelena Krivacevic and Rita Freitas 8-7(3) in the first of three tie-breakers on the day.
USA gained a 3-0 lead in the contest with straight-set wins at the first and fourth positions in singles. At No. 1, State's Juskova fell to South Alabama's Adrianna Solarova 6-2, 6-0, while freshman DeAndra Saddler was downed 6-1, 6-1 to Lady Jag Jelena Krivacevic at the #4 position.
Rounding out the match, at No. 2 Elna de Villiers fought hard in a first set tiebreaker 7-6(7) before falling 6-0 in the second set. MSU's Joseph dropped the first set 6-3 before taking the second to a 7-6(5) tiebreaker. The court #3 loss proved to be the clinching point for the Jaguars.
MSU's points came from Freshman Valeriya Makarycheva and Tatiana Feit at the #5 and #6, respectively. Makarycheva topped her Jaguar opponent Dijana Stanic 7-5, 6-3. Feit won the first set 6-3 before dropping a 6-4 second set. Feit rallied back in the third to take it 6-4 and claim her ninth win on the season.
State will return home this Saturday, Feb. 17, to host visiting Southeastern Louisiana. The match is slated to begin at 1 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team will be back in action this weekend, traveling to Memphis, Tenn., to take on the University of Memphis, followed by a trip to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to battle Middle Tennessee State. Friday's match with UM will get underway at 6 p.m. at Waterworx in Bartlett while Sunday's match with MTSU is set for 1 p.m. at the Murfreesboro Racquet Club.
State, currently ranked 54th in the latest ITA Rankings, is 1-1 this season. The Bulldogs opened up its season defeating UAB, before falling to fourth-ranked Mississippi in the River Hills Cup last week in Jackson. The Bulldogs are currently led by a pair of veteran juniors in Philippe Frayssinoux and Ivan Bjelica. Frayssinoux, currently ranked 31st-nationally, is 13-6 this season while 32nd-ranked Bjelica is 13-7.
Friday's matchup with Memphis marks the 26th meeting between the two programs. The Tigers hold a slight 13-12 advantage in the series but State has won the last four meetings dating back to the 1987 season. Memphis is 2-2 this season, having dropped a pair of matches to SEC foes Tennessee and Vanderbilt before rebounding to beat UT Martin and Rhoades College. The Tigers are led by senior Garrison Pilant and sophomore Benedikt Fischer.
Middle Tennessee State enters Sunday's match with a 6-3 record and are 44th in the latest ITA Rankings. State is 15-1 all-time against MTSU with their lone loss coming two years ago in Starkville. The Blue Raiders are led by senior and 41st-ranked Andreas Siljestrom who is 6-0 in singles dual-matches this season. Siljestrom and fellow senior Marco Born are ranked 16th in doubles and are 6-0 in dual matches this spring.
Following this weekend's road trip, the Bulldogs will return home to host Louisiana Lafayette on Feb. 21. The match is slated for 2 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on the MSU campus.