News from MSU Media Relations--March 25

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

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team will close out its current homestand Sunday, taking on Vanderbilt at 1 p.m. CT. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The Bulldogs are looking to sweep this weekend after a 4-1 win over Kentucky on Friday.

State (4-9, 1-4), claimed the win over Kentucky by winning four singles matches. MSU junior Ivan Bjelica won his fifth-straight match and improved to 21-10 on the year. Sophomore Ryan Farlow moved to 8-3 in dual matches with a win on court #5. Freshman Chris Doerr improved to 4-1 in dual matches, winning on court #6.

Vanderbilt enters Sunday's match with a 7-7 overall record and are 2-3 in SEC play. The Commodores are coming off a close loss Friday at #9 Mississippi. VU is led this season by sophomore and 63rd-ranked Ryan Preston. Preston is 5-4 in dual matches this year.

In the all time series with Vanderbilt, State is 31-8. The Bulldogs also have a commanding 14-2 advantage in matches played in Starkville. Last season, State had a team match point but couldn't hold on as the Commodores rallied to win a 4-3 decision.


Women's Golf
ATHENS, Ga. - Senior Amanda Mathis fired a 75 on Saturday and led MSU in the second round of the Liz Murphey Classic at the UGA Golf Course. As a team, the Lady Bulldogs shot a 315 and stand in 16th heading into Sunday's final round.

Junior Julia Huh shot a 78 on Saturday and stands in a tie for 57th. Sophomore Leigh Phillips and freshman Suzanne Stanley are in a tie for 79th with a two round score of a 163. Freshman Gina Sharp stands one stroke back with a 164.

Auburn retained their first round lead by shooting a 299 on Saturday and leads the field by five strokes. LSU's Melissa Eaton held on to her lead in the individual competition, shooting a 73 in the second round and leads by one stroke.

The final round on Sunday will get underway at 8 a.m. with a shotgun start.


Track & Field
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Mississippi State's track and field squad registered five NCAA regional qualifying marks on Saturday at the Alabama Relays at the Sam Bailey Track and Field Stadium. With the five qualifying marks at the UA event, MSU now has eight NCAA marks in the first three weeks of the season.

Sophomore Marrissa Harris posted two of the regional qualifying marks for MSU. The Memphis, Tenn.-product earned a mark of 13.81 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles, which ranks third-best all-time at State. Harris's second regional mark of the day came in long jump competition. Her jump of 21 feet, seven and half inches establishes a new school record in the long jump. The previous mark of 21-07 ¼ was set by Elisha Williams in 2001.

Senior Christina Hernandez carded a throw of 156 feet, four inches in the discus to garner a bid to the NCAA Mideast regional. The mark recorded by her ranks second in MSU's laurels. Senior Nicola Wilson, who qualified for NCAA's last week at the Georgia Relays in the shot put, turned in another regional mark in the shot put with a toss of 49-00 ¾ .

"All in all, it was a good day for us with three qualifying marks on the women's side and Delandus (O'Neal) qualifying," said MSU head coach Al Schmidt. "Tomorrow is a big day with the relays."

On the men's side, junior Delandus O'Neal recorded a time of 52.20 in the 400-meter hurdles to qualify for post-season competition. The junior transfer's time ranks fifth-best on MSU's all-time list in the event.

The 2007 edition of the Alabama Relays will wrap up on Sunday with competition beginning at 8 a.m.


Softball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Strong starting pitching from Kelli Miller and Kelsey Nurnberg helped Mississippi State to a doubleheader sweep of Auburn, 3-1 and 4-1. It was MSU's first home SEC doubleheader sweep since March 25, 2006 against South Carolina.

"Obviously, these were two great wins," said MSU head coach Jay Miller. "We needed this to pick ourselves up a little bit. We got great pitching, Kelli (Miller) and Sara (Hickerson), and Kelsey (Nurnberg) in the second game. They all handled them really well. The key was we kept the leadoff runner off base, and we made the plays that we needed to. We had some big, clutch hits. We made some things happen on the bases, and that was a good sign. But these were two good wins for us, and it gives us a little bit better opportunity."

After retiring the first two batters in Game One, Kelli Miller allowed a single to Holly Currie, and then hit Tatiana Fernandez, putting runners at first and second. But, Myesha Finney hit into a fielder's choice, ending the inning.

The Tigers threatened again in the third. With one out, Ashley Arcuri and Taryn Gray hit back-to-back singles. However, Currie grounded to Jessie Bailey, who stepped on third and fired over to Sammie Jo Bailey to complete the inning ending double play.

Auburn starter Anna Thompson started the game striking out seven of the first 11 batters she faced. However, MSU got to her in the third. With two outs, and Chelsea Bramlett on second, Hayle Guess drew her second walk of the day. Courtney Bures then singled, driving in Bramlett with the game's first run. After Katie Cooley's walk loaded the bases, Jessie Bailey blooped a single into left field, scoring Guess and Bures for a 3-0 MSU lead.

With one out in the fourth, Finney singled. Miller then walked Lindsey Harrelson and Sara Ghezzi, loading the bases and ending her day. But Sara Hickerson came on in relief, and struck out Jorja Bell and Whitney Wyatt to end the threat.

The Tigers got on the board in the fifth. Arcuri and Gray led off with singles, and were sacrificed by Currie. Fernandez loaded the bases with a walk. After Finney struck out, Harrelson took a close 3-2 pitch that was just outside, drawing a walk and plating Arcuri with AU's first run. Sara Ghezzi then grounded to second, keeping the score at 3-1.

Kelli Miller came back in the game in seventh to record the final three outs and pick up her eighth victory. Anna Thompson struck out 10 in the loss.

In the second game, the Bulldogs wasted no time getting on the board. With two outs, Hayle Guess walked and stole second. Courtney Bures then doubled to give MSU a 1-0 lead.

MSU struck again with two outs in the third. Nakita Boyce walked and stole second. Guess then hit her fifth home run of the season to straight away center field, giving MState a 3-0 lead.

Mississippi State added another run in the fourth when Lindsey Hunley's grounder was mishandled by Holly Currie, allowing Katie Cooley to score.

Auburn broke the shutout in the fifth, scoring once.

Kelsey Nurnberg went the distance for State, allowing eight hits to improve to 6-2. Guess was 2-2 with two runs and two RBI. Courtney Bures was 2-3 with an RBI.

The will close out the series tomorrow with a single game at 1 p.m. (CT). MSU will face the Tigers in a 1 p.m. (CT) doubleheader on Saturday. Admission to all MSU softball games is free. The game 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.


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