News from MSU Media Relations--March 24

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

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team (4-9, 1-4), snapped a seven-match losing skid on Friday afternoon, downing Kentucky 4-1 at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. Despite losing the doubles point, the Bulldogs dominated singles play to earn their first SEC win of the season.

Kentucky (10-7, 2-3), took the early advantage in the match, winning on all three doubles courts. The first complete came on court #1 where Wildcats Bruno Agostinelli and Kenny Hodge downed MSU's pair of Ivan Bjelica and Philippe Frayssinoux 8-3. Moments later, the Cats clinched the point as UK's pair of Roman Ogarkov and Marcus Sundh downed Bulldogs Ryan Farlow and Chris Doerr 8-5 on court #3. On court #2, State's pair of Artem Kuznetsov and Pjotrs Necajevs rallied from a 7-2 deficit against UK's 22nd-ranked tandem of Peter Bjork and Will Ward to send the match into a tiebreaker. However, in the tiebreaker, Bjork and Ward outlasted MSU's pair and took the 8-7 win.

The tide quickly turned in MSU's favor when singles play began. The Bulldogs won the first set quickly on four courts to snatch the momentum. The team score was evened at 1-1 when MSU freshman Doerr took out UK's Hodge 6-1, 6-2 on court #6. The next completed match saw MSU's Frayssinoux down Kentucky's 96th-ranked Ward when Ward defaulted with Frayssinoux leading 6-1, 5-3 in the second set. Moments later, State's 39th-ranked Bjelica closed out UK's 88th-ranked Agostinelli 6-2, 6-2 on court #1 to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 advantage. Seconds later, MSU's Farlow clinched State's win as he defeated UK's Shane Collins 6-4, 6-2 on court #5. The other two matches in play on court #3 between Kuznetsov and Bjork and on court #4 between Necajevs and Sundh were suspended after the match was clinched.

"We have had some really tough losses so far this season," said MSU head coach Sylvain Guichard. "With these young guys, you are going to have some good days and bad days. Today, we had a good day and hopefully we can build on this win and learn even more as the season goes on."

With the win, State moved to 3-2 at home this season at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The Bulldogs won their second straight over the Wildcats and closed the gap in the all time series to 18-20. State now leads UK 11-4 in matches played in Starkville. Junior Ivan Bjelica picked up his fifth straight win on Friday while sophomore Ryan Farlow improved his dual match record to 8-3. With the win on court #6, MSU freshman Doerr improved to 4-1 in dual matches this season.

State will continue their homestand on Sunday, hosting 34th-ranked Vanderbilt. Match time is slated for 1 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.


Women's Golf
ATHENS, Ga. - The Mississippi State women's golf team shot a 314 and stand in a tie for 14th after the first round of the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic on Friday. The tournament will continue Saturday and Sunday at the UGA Golf Course in Athens, Ga.

Leading State in the first round was senior Amanda Mathis. Mathis fired a 76 and stands in a tie for 33rd heading into Saturday. State freshman Suzanne Stanley and junior Julia Huh both shot a 79 on the opening day and stand in a tie for 56th. Freshman Gina Sharp in one stroke behind after an 80 in the opening round and is in a tie for 67th. Sophomore Leigh Phillips shot an 85 to round out the scoring for MSU.

Auburn shot a 293 in the opening round and lead the field by four strokes after the first round. In the individual race, it was LSU's Melissa Eaton who was at the top at the end of the day, shooting a 1-under 70 and leads by one stroke.

State will continue the second round on Saturday as play begins at 8 a.m. CT.


Women's Tennis
LEXINGTON , Ky. - Mississippi State's women's tennis squad dropped a 6-1 decision to No. 22 Kentucky Friday in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky took an early lead after doubles and continued that momentum by winning five of the six singles contests.

Kentucky (14-1, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) took the doubles point by taking the top two positions. After taking a 3-2 lead early, State's Martina Banikova and Valeriya Makarycheva played a tight match, but eventually fell 8-5 to Kentucky's fifth-ranked tandem of Kim Coventry and Joelle Schwenk at the top position. At No. 2, MSU's duo of Elna de Villiers and DeAndra Saddler fell 8-4 to UK 's Carolina Escamilla and Sarah Woestmann to clinch the point for the Wildcats. In the last doubles match, State's undefeated tandem of Renee Joseph and Daniela Juskova remained perfect on the season (7-0 dual) with a tough 8-7(6) tiebreak win over UK's Christine Johnston and Whitney Spencer.

UK would win the first five singles matches complete to clinch the win. First off was Juskova, who dropped her match 6-2, 6-1 to Wildcat Woestmann at the No. 3 spot. UK took a 3-0 lead when, at No. 6, MSU's Makarycheva fell in her match 6-3, 6-2 to UK's Spencer. The match-clincher came at No. 4, where State's Joseph lost 6-4, 6-4 to Kentucky's Escamilla.

UK picked up the next two points as well. At No. 2, State's de Villiers dropped a close first set (7-5) against Kentucky's 122nd-ranked Schwenk before falling 6-1 in the second. On court No. 5, MSU's Saddler cruised in the first set 6-1 versus UK 's Jessica Giuggioli before falling in the final two by the same score.

State's (5-7, 1-4 SEC) lone win in singles came at the top spot in the lineup, where Banikova rallied from being shut out in the first set against UK 's Coventry to take the match 0-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The Lady Bulldogs travel next to Vanderbilt to compete with the Lady Commodores on Sunday at Noon CT before returning home to host Arkansas next Friday, March 30, on the opening day of Super Bulldog Weekend.


Track & Field
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Mississippi State sophomore Michelle Corrigan won the 10,000-meter run on Friday afternoon to open MSU's weekend at the Alabama Relays in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The Green Bay, Wis.-native finished with a time of 38:32 which is a career mark for her. Corrigan's teammate Nicole Rosetti turned in a third-place finish in the event.

"We held both of them back with the weather today. It was hot out there today," said MSU head coach Al Schmidt. "When it was time to go, they controlled the race. A win is a win."

The Bulldogs will start field competition on Saturday, March 24, at 8 a.m. with the men's hammer. MSU's first running event on the men's side is slated for 11:10 a.m. while the women's 110-meter hurdles will kick start the women's running events on Saturday. Events will continue through Sunday, March 25.


Softball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - After a nine game road trip, Mississippi State (18-14) returns home looking to get back on track in SEC play. MSU will host Auburn (14-17) this weekend in its SEC home opener. The teams will play a doubleheader Saturday at 1 p.m. CT at the MSU Softball Field, followed by a single game Sunday at 1 p.m. CT. Admission to all MSU softball games is free. All games can be heard on MSU's radio station, WMSV 91.1 FM and can be heard live on the station's website, www.wmsv.msstate.edu.

Mississippi State leads the all-time series with Auburn, 20-15. In Starkville, MSU leads 11-5, while the Tigers hold a 9-8 advantage in Auburn. The series is tied 1-1 when played on a neutral field. MSU has outscored the Auburn, 145-117. Last year, AU swept a three-game series in Auburn, 4-1, 6-5, and 5-3. The MSU is seeking its first win over Auburn since April 2, 2005, a span of four games.

Chelsea Bramlett looks to keep her strong start to her collegiate career going. The freshman leads MSU in hitting with a .420 batting average. She also leads the team in runs (33) and hits (47), and is second in the conference in stolen bases with 27 which puts her tied for second on MSU's all-time freshman list.

Kelli Miller leads the Bulldogs from the mound with a 7-5 record and a 1.41 ERA. In 69.2 innings of work, the senior has struck out 36 batters. Sara Hickerson is 2-4 with a 1.98 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 50.1 innings of work. She also has a conference-high six saves.

Auburn enters this weekend's series with a 14-17 overall record, and 3-5 in the SEC. The Tigers are coming off a weekend that saw them drop two of three games to Ole Miss. As a team, Auburn is batting .344 with 21 doubles and 18 home runs. AU has also stolen 23 bases in only 32 attempts. Offensively, the Tigers are led by Holly Currie. The senior is hitting .319 with five doubles, six home runs, 14 runs and 18 RBI. Tatiana Fernandez has added four home runs and 15 RBI, while Sara Ghezzi has four home runs and 17 RBI. From the pitching circle, Auburn throws primarily two pitchers. Anna Thompson leads the team with an 8-8 record and a 1.69 ERA. She also has six complete games, while striking out 166 batters, and has Auburn's only save of the year.. Currie has a 1.92 ERA with 106 strikeouts, but is just 6-8 overall. Opponents are hitting just .190 against Tiger pitching.

Following this weekend's action, the Bulldogs will travel to Madison, Miss. for the third annual M&F Bank Fastpitch Classic against Ole Miss, March 28. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. (CT)


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