News from MSU Media Relations--February 18

The lastest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Mississippi State got outstanding pitching and timely hitting, as the Bulldogs upset 11th-ranked California, 9-0 in six innings to move to 2-0 at the UNLV Louisville Slugger Desert Classic. State then lost a 2-1 decision to Cal-Davis in the nightcap. The win was MSU's first run-rule victory over a ranked opponent since beating No. 22 Georgia Tech, 10-2 in six, May 8, 2004.

In the opener, Stephanie Comeaux and Sara Hickerson combined to one-hit the Bears, allowing just two Cal hitters to reach base. Comeaux started the game, throwing four innings of no-hit ball, and striking out three for the victory. Hickerson went the final two innings.

MSU got off to an early lead. Sammie Jo Bailey led off the second with a double that barely stayed inside the line. After Katie Cooley sacrificed pinch-runner Rachel Hurley to second, Jessie Bailey singled, driving in Hurley. One out later, Hayle Guess and Michelle Kinney singled, the latter bringing home Bailey and giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.

The Bulldogs tacked on three more runs in the fifth. Nakita Boyce led off with a single, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Courtney Bures then sacrificed her to third, and Sammie Jo Bailey brought her home with a single. After Cooley singled to put runners at first and second, Jessie Bailey singled, and Sammie Jo Bailey beat the throw home. Sara Hickerson then grounded to second, bringing home Cooley and handing MSU a 5-0 lead.

MSU continued the onslaught in the sixth. Chelsea Bramlett struck out to lead off the inning, but reached first on a third strike passed ball. Boyce walked and Bures was hit by the pitch to load the bases. Sammie Jo Bailey made it 7-0 when her ground ball went through the legs of third baseman Katie Vickers, allowing Bramlett and Boyce to score. Cooley then ended the game when she doubled off the right field wall.

MSU squandered a chance in the second, leaving the bases loaded. Courtney Bures started the inning with a walk and Jessie Bailey was hit by the pitch. After Gina McCloud struck out, Katie Johnson was hit by the pitch, loading the bases. But, UC-Davis pitcher Lindsey Tognetti struck out Lindsey Hunley and Michelle Kinney.

In the nightcap against UC-Davis, a two-run home run by Sarah O'Neill in the second inning proved to be the difference for the Aggies, who no-hit State in the affair. The blast, off State's Kelli Miller, marked the first runs allowed by the MSU pitcher in 24 1/3 innings, dating back to the 2006 season. The no-hitter marked the first time the Bulldogs were hitless since May 21, 2005 against Texas.

MSU's only run in the contest came on a wild pitch in the seventh inning, sending Chelsea Bramlett across the plate.

The Bulldog offense missed several opportunities in the game, stranding 11 runners on base, including three bases-loaded situations.

UC-Davis took advantage in the bottom half of the inning. Ashley Johnson got things started with a single. One out later, Sarah O'Neill sent Kelli Miller's 1-1 pitch over the left field fence or a 2-0 lead. The runs were the first earned runs Miller has given up this year, and they snapped her scoreless streak at 24 1/3 innings. It also ended the team's scoreless streak at 20 1/3 innings.

State again left the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth. In the seventh, Bramlett and Boyce reached base on errors and advanced on Hayle Guess' sacrifice bunt. Bramlett then scored on the wild pitch, cutting the lead to one. Courtney Bures was then hit by a pitch and stole second. But, Jessie Bailey popped out, and Sammie Jo Bailey struck out, stranding the runners at second and third.

Mississippi State returns to action Saturday at 11 a.m. (CT) when they face Hawaii, followed by Utah State at 2 p.m. (CT).

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Mississippi State split two games on the final day of the UNLV Louisville Slugger Desert Classic. The Bulldogs dropped a heartbreaker, 3-2, to Hawaii in the opener before rebounding to defeat Utah State, 6-3, and finish 3-2 for the tournament.

MState got timely hitting early, then held off a Utah State rally on its way to a 6-3 victory over the Aggies.

MSU got on the board early. In the second inning, Jessie Bailey singled, and one out later, Hayle Guess hit her second home run of the year, handing the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.

USU got a run back in the third. With two outs and Ashley Bellum on second, Jamie Fife grounded to Courtney Bures. But, her throw was in the dirt, and got past Sammie Jo Bailey, which allowed Bellum to score. The Aggies cut the deficit to 5-3 in the fifth, but MSU got an insurance run in the sixth. In the seventh, Utah State put the first two runners on. But Hickerson retired the next three to end the game.

Bramlett led the Bulldogs with three hits and three runs. Kelsey Nurnberg went 4 2/3 innings to pick up the win, and Sara Hickerson went the final 2 1/3 for her third save.

In the opening game, Valana Manuma's two-out home run in the bottom of the seventh inning off of Sara Hickerson gave Hawaii a 3-2, come-from-behind victory over Mississippi State.

After Kaulana Gould struck out, Brandi Peiler grounded to Chelsea Bramlett. But her throw sailed over the head of Sammie Jo Bailey, allowing Peiler to reach and setting up Manuma's heroics.

Hawaii took an early lead in the second inning. Tyleen Tausaga was hit by the pitch to start the inning. Two outs later, Kate Robinson doubled down the left field line, giving Hawaii the 1-0 lead.

Blair Hewett led off the fifth with a double to right center, and was replaced by Rachel Hurley. Hayle Guess sacrificed her to third, and Michelle Kinney drove her in, doubling to left center and tying the game. Chelsea Bramlett and Nakita Boyce followed with singles, the latter gave MSU the 2-1 lead.

The Rainbow Wahine got the leadoff batter on in four straight innings, but only once could the y push a run across the plate.

Kinney led the Bulldogs, going 2-3 with a run and an RBI. Bramlett also had two hits.

Mississippi State returns to action Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT) when they host Mississippi Valley State. Fans can follow all the action live on

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's women's tennis team dropped a 4-3 decision to Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday afternoon. The Lady Bulldogs came out strong early, claiming the doubles point at courts #1 and #3 to earn the early advantage in the match. But SLU won the first four singles matches completed to gain the victory.

In doubles, State's tandem of Martina Banikova and Valeriya Makarycheva took an 8-5 victory versus SLU's duo of Nina Knavs and Breda Kovac at the top position. MSU then clinched the doubles point at court #3 with an 8-6 victory by Renee Joseph and Daniela Juskova over Lady Lions Aleksandra Coric and Jana Simurkova. SLU claimed the final match in a tiebreaker, 9-8(2).

But MSU, ranked 75th nationally at present, fell in the first four singles matches, allowing SLU the clinch the 4-1 win. At No. 1, State's Martina Banikova, after losing a first set tiebreaker 7-6(6), was down 1-0 before being forced to retire to give the Lady Lions their first point of the afternoon.

Next off the court was MSU's Daniela Juskova, who fell to Lady Lion Iva Velkovska 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2. SLU took a 3-1 lead when Jana Simurkova downed Lady Bulldog Renee Joseph 6-2, 6-1 at No. 4. The match-clincher came at the No. 5 spot, where State's Valeriya Makarycheva dropped a pair of close 6-4 sets to Bonnie Phillips.

In the remaining two matches, State's Tatiana Feit defeated SLU's Nina Knavs 6-2, 7-5 at the No. 6 position. At No. 3, Elna de Villiers took the first set 7-5 against Breda Kovac before falling 6-4 in the second. The players then played a supertiebreaker for the third set to decide the match. De Villiers secured the breaker 10-3 to post State's third point.

"It is very disappointing we lost," said head coach Tracy Lane. "We have to have more players win matches. Southeastern Louisiana is a very good team - a team that is underrated. We had some winnable matches today and, if we are going to be competing in the SEC, we have to win those matches."

Due up for the Lady Bulldogs next week is Louisiana-Lafayette at home [Feb. 22 @ 2 p.m.] and UAB on the road [Feb. 24 @ Noon]. The match against the UAB Blazers was postponed from earlier in the season.

Men's Tennis
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team improved to 2-1 on Friday night, downing the Memphis Tigers 4-3 at the Wellworx Fitness Club in Memphis, Tenn. State won the opening doubles point and took the first three singles matches to claim the win.

In doubles, the Bulldogs swept all three courts for the second time this season. The first match completed was on court #1, where State's Ivan Bjelica and Philippe Frayssinoux won 8-3 over UM's Amrit Nirasimhan and Benedikt Fischer. MSU clinched the doubles point at the #2 position, when the 28th-ranked tandem of Artem Kuznetsov and Pjotrs Necajevs defeated Tigers Charlie Ramsay and Jimmy Khougassian 8-4. The Bulldogs closed out the sweep of the doubles point when Bulldogs Ryan Farlow and Chris Doerr defeated Garrison Pilant and Spencer Heflin 8-5 on court #3.

First off the court in singles was Bulldog freshman Doerr who claimed his first dual-match singles victory of his career, winning 6-2, 6-1 over UM's Tezar Putra on court #6, giving State a 2-0 lead. MSU took a 3-0 advantage when Farlow defeated UM's Cody Loup of Memphis 6-3, 6-3 on court #5. The clinching point for the Bulldogs came moments later when junior and 31st-ranked Frayssinoux topped Tiger Khougassian 6-4, 7-5.

After the match was clinched, Memphis fought back to claim the final three points of the match. State's Necajevs fell 2-6, 6-3, 1-0(7) to Ramsay of Memphis on court #4. Memphis got their second point of the night when UM's Fischer closed out State's Kuznetsov 6-4, 6-2 on court #3. On court #2, State's 32nd-ranked Bjelica fell 7-5, 6-4 to the Tiger's Narasimhan that gave Memphis their third and final point of the night.

"Despite the win, I was not pleased with our team effort tonight," said MSU head coach Sylvain Guichard. "We are going to have to play alot better Sunday to have a chance against a good Middle Tennessee State team."

The win for the Bulldogs marked the fifth straight over Memphis dating back to 1987. The all-time series now stands tied 13-13.

State's next action will come Sunday when the Bulldogs continue their road trip, traveling to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to take on 44th-ranked Middle Tennessee State. The match is slated to begin at 1 p.m. at the Murfreesboro racquet club.

Women's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State University women's basketball team (16-10, 6-5 SEC) returns to action Sunday afternoon, hosting archrival Mississippi (19-8, 8-4 SEC) in a 2 p.m. contest from Humphrey Coliseum. Fans attending Sunday's game are asked to wear maroon in support of the Lady Bulldogs. Sunday's game is sponsored by the Lady Bulldog Mentors and is the second contest between the Lady Bulldogs and Lady Rebels this season.

As the final home game of the season, the MState staff will also honor senior manager Justin Smith for his dedication to the program over the last three years.

Ole Miss leads the all-time series with Mississippi State but MSU has won three out of the last four, including last season's 70-59 upset in Oxford and this season's shocking 73-71 buzzer beater victory. Since Sharon Fanning's arrival, the Lady Bulldogs have defeated UM 13 times compared to the Lady Rebels' 11 wins. In that span, MState is 6-5 in Starkville.

With her seven rebounds on Thursday evening in a 64-84 loss to Vanderbilt, freshman guard Alexis Rack tied her season high for the second time this season. Rack previously brought down seven boards against Ole Miss on Jan. 28. Sophomore forward Lauren Roberts shot 8-of-10 from the charity stripe to net career highs in both categories. Roberts finished the game with 10 points, two shy of her season-high 12 set last week against Savannah State.

MSU currently ranks in the top half of the SEC in several statistical categories. In league games only, the Lady Bulldogs are second in three-point field goal percentage (.344) and three-point field goals made (6.73), fourth free-throw percentage (.725) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.288). The ladies rank fourth in steals (9.09), fifth in scoring offense (69.0), offensive rebounds (14.09) and are sixth defensive rebounds (24.64). Individually in SEC games only, Richard is 10th in scoring (14.3), sixth in field goal percentage (.542) and third in steals (2.64), while Rack is second in three-point field goals made (2.45) and freshman forward Bethany Washington is 10th in rebounding (7.2).

Overall, MSU is third in three-point field goal percentage defense (.296), fourth in three-point field goals made (5.69) and fifth in offensive rebounds (15.19). Individually in overall games, Richard is fourth in steals (2.42).

Ole Miss enters Sunday's game 19-8 on the year and 8-4 in league play. The Lady Rebels are led by senior guard Armintie Price, who leads the team in scoring (18.4 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rbg).

In their previous contest, UM fell to third-ranked Tennessee, 69-81, on Thursday evening in Oxford. In their last five contests, the Lady Rebels are 3-2, including a double overtime win at Arkansas on Feb. 4.

MSU faced #22 Ole Miss on Jan. 28 in Oxford. After leading by four and the half and by as much as 18, the Lady Rebels fought back to take a 66-61 lead with 2:35 to go. MSU scored the next six points for a 67-66 lead. Two free throws by Alexis Rack gave MSU a 71-68 lead with 14 seconds to go. Five seconds later, Lady Rebel Ashley Awkward, who led UM with 19 points, nailed a three-pointer to knot the contest at 71-71. Then came Marneshia Richard's game-winner as the clock expired to give MSU a 73-71 win.

MState hits the road for the final two conference games of the season, traveling to Alabama for a 6 p.m. televised contest with the Crimson Tide on Feb. 22 and then facing South Carolina in Columbia on Feb. 25.

The 2007 Southeastern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament is slated for March 1-4 at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.

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