News from MSU Media Relations--March 26

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

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis squad won its second match of the weekend on Sunday, topping Vanderbilt 5-2 at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The Bulldogs claimed the doubles point and jumped on top of the Commodores early in singles to close in on the victory.

State jumped out early in doubles, breaking Vanderbilt on their first serve on courts #1 and #2. On court #2, the Bulldog freshman tandem of Artem Kuznetsov and Pjotrs Necajevs extended their early lead and closed out VU's Evan Dufaux and Nathan Sachs 8-3. The Commodores evened things up with a victory on court #3, where the Vandy duo of Andy Mack and Jordan Magarik downed State's Ryan Farlow and Chris Doerr 8-3. In the decisive third match on court #1, Bulldogs Ivan Bjelica and Philippe Frayssinoux took advantage of their early led to close out Ryan Preston and Nik Cromydas 8-3 to give State the opening point.

Much like their match Friday against Kentucky, MSU gained the early advantage in singles. The Bulldogs won the first set on five of six courts to extend their momentum. MSU freshman Kuznetsov snapped a seven-match losing skid and gave MSU a 2-0 advantage as he downed Vandy's Dufaux 6-1, 6-2 on court #3. The Bulldogs took a 3-0 lead when freshman Doerr topped Commodore James Moye 6-4, 6-3 on court #6. Vanderbilt narrowed the gap to 3-1 with a win at court 4, which saw VU's Vijay Paul defeat State's Necajevs 7-5, 6-1.

While MSU held the advantage, Vanderbilt looked to fight back with three courts still in action. On courts #2 and #5, Vandy fought back to win the second set and send the match into a third set. With those two matches evened up and the match still very much in doubt, all eyes turned to court #1. State's 39th-ranked Bjelica downed Vandy's 63rd-ranked Preston 6-1 in the first set but found himself down 5-2 in the second set. From that point, the Belgrade, Serbia native fought back to win five consecutive games, win his sixth straight and clinch the match for the Bulldogs.

With the score 4-1, State's Frayssinoux defaulted his match to VU's 125th-ranked Cromydas, dropping a 2-6, 6-0, 2-1(def.) decision. The last match complete came on court #5, where MSU's Farlow oulasted VU's Mack 6-3, 4-6, 1-0(4) in a third-set supertiebreaker to give State its fifth point.

"As you can see by the result today, there is no doubt that we have talent," said MSU head coach Sylvain Guichard. "We had some unlucky breaks earlier this season and are two points away from probably being in the top-20 nationally. Hopefully this weekend's success will give our guys some confidence as we keep playing."

With the win on Sunday, State moved to 32-8 all time against the Commodores. MSU now holds a 15-2 mark against Vanderbilt in matches played in Starkville. With his win on court #1, Bjelica improved to 22-10 overall this season and 5-1 in SEC play. Farlow improved to 9-3 in dual matches this season while Doerr's win propelled him to a 5-1 dual match record.

State's next action will be on the road as they travel to face Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., next Friday at 2 p.m. CT. Following that match, the Bulldogs return home next Sunday to host LSU at 1 p.m. as part of Super Bulldog Weekend festivities.


Women's Golf
ATHENS, Ga. - The Mississippi State women's golf team fired a 304 in the final round of the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic on Sunday to finish in 15th place. State ended the three-day tournament, shooting a 933 on the par-71 UGA Golf Course.

Leading MSU for the third-straight day was senior Amanda Mathis. After rounds of 76 and 75 on the first two days, Mathis responded Sunday by shooting a 74 to finish the tournament in a tie for 19th. Junior Julia Huh fired a 75 on Sunday to finish with a 232 for the weekend and tie for 45th. Suzanne Stanley finished with a 240 while fellow freshman Gina Sharp ended the three-round event with a 242. Sophomore Leigh Phillips rounded out State's scoring with a 248.

Auburn shot an 881 on the final day of competition to extend their lead and win the team competition by 11 strokes. Virginia's Leah Wigger outlasted Purdue's Maria Hernandez in a playoff to claim the individual title.

With the regular season now complete, State will return home and prepare to host the SEC Championship. The 2007 edition of the tournament will take place April 20-22 at the Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss.


Track & Field
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Mississippi State 's track and field squad finished up competition at the Alabama Relays by winning seven relay events on Sunday. The Lady Bulldogs finished tied atop the team standings with Western Michigan.

The MSU women claimed the top spot in the 4x1500-meter relay, distance medley relay and the 4x200-meter relay. State's men won the 4x1500-meter relay, 4x800-meter relay, 4x400-meter relay and the sprint medley relay.

The squad of Jennifer McPherson, Mina Thorstenson, Michelle Corrigan and Brittany Detzel earned medalist honors in the 4x1500-meter relay with a time of 18 minutes, 57.76 seconds. In the DMR, McPherson, Antrese Banks, Detzel and Corrigan posted a time of 11:58.55 to win the event. In the 4x200-meter relay, the foursome of Gabrielle Dillon, Marrissa Harris, Wendy Copeland and Laquinta Aaron turned in a time of 1: 37.26.

MState school records were broken in the men's 4x1500-meter relay and the 4x800-meter relay en route to winning both of those events. The team of Wade Martin, Pad Judd, Brandon Smith and Jonathan Rono ran a school record 15:49.91 to claim the victory. In the 4x800-meter relay, Rono, Golden Coachman, Nathan Daniels and Ryan Irwin recorded an all-time MSU best of 7: 28.68. In the sprint medley relay, State's Kendall May, John Bailey, Brice Davis and Chris Woods finished at 3:16.52. MState's 4x400-meter relay team bettered their regional qualifying mark with a season-best 3:06.87.

In the women's 4x100-meter hurdle shuttle, Harris, Bridgette Rose, Aaron and Dot Youmans posted a school record time in the event at 58.59.

"It was a great meet for us this weekend with the regional qualifying marks on Saturday and winning the relays today," said MSU head coach Al Schmidt. "This is the best Alabama Relays that we have had in a long time. We dominated on the men's side and the women really stepped up this weekend. We asked them to run a great deal this weekend."

The Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs will host the Bulldog Invitational on Saturday, March 31, as part of Super Bulldog Weekend activities. Prior to Saturday's collegiate meet, MSU will host a high school meet on Friday, March 30. All events will take place at the W.O. Spencer Stadium/Carl Maddox Track on the MSU campus. Admission to the meet is free on both days.

"I don't know who is coming, but it will be a chance for our kids to run in front of their parents and it will be great being apart of Super Bulldog Weekend," added Schmidt. "We also have some great teams coming in for the high school meet."


Softball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - With two outs and Rachel Hurley on third in the bottom of the seventh, Mississippi State (20-15, 4-7) seemed to have tied the game on Nakita Boyce's single. However, she was called out for stepping on the plate, and MSU dropped the final game of the series to Auburn (15-19, 4-7), 2-1.

MSU opened the first with Boyce hitting a one-out single. However, she was thrown out trying to steal second. Hayle Guess then singled up the middle, but Courtney Bures ended the inning grounding to second.

Auburn threatened in the second inning. With one out, Tatiana Fernandez singled and Myesha Finney was hit with the first pitch. But Taryn Gray flied to left, and Kelli Miller got Krista Klein to force Fernandez out at third to get out of the jam.

The Tigers took its first lead of the series in the third. Brittany Scott hit a one-out grounder to short, but Bures mishandled it, allowing Scott to reach. After Scott stole second, Holly Currie walked. Ashley Archuri then singled down the right field line, scoring Scott. After Fernandez walked to load the bases, Finney hit an infield single, and Auburn led 2-0 after two and half innings.

State cut the lead to one in the fourth. Guess and Bures led off the inning with singles. After Katie Cooley sacrificed them over, Jessie Bailey singled to right field, scoring Guess. But, Bures was thrown out at the plate, and Auburn got out of the inning with the lead in tact.

In the top of the seventh, Lindsey Harrelson reached when Chelsea Bramlett could not get the ball out of her ball, and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Jorja Bell advanced her third, and Holly Currie flied to right, driving Harrelson home and seeming to give Auburn the insurance run they needed. But Harrelson was called out for leaving third early, ending the inning and setting up the play in the bottom of the inning.

Hayle Guess led the Bulldogs, going 2-3 with a run. Kelli Miller (8-6) took the loss for MState, allowing both runs in three innings of relief. Anna Thompson (9-9) came on in relief to earn the victory for the Tigers.

State returns to action on Wednesday, March 28, when they travel to Madison, Miss. for a neutral site, non-conference game with Ole Miss at 6:30 p.m. (CT). Fans can follow all the action live on www.mstateathletics.com. The game can also 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.


Men's Golf
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's men's golf team returns to the course on Monday, March 26, participating in the University of South Alabama Spring Classic in Mobile, Ala.

State returns to the city where it last won a 54-hole event. The squad won the Callis Communications Intercollegiate last fall in Mobile at the Azalea City Golf Course. This week's event will be held at Herron Lakes Country Club. The course is a par-72, 6,848-yard layout. MSU is making its third appearance in the USA-hosted event. In 2005, the Maroon and White captured the team title and placed fourth last season.

The Bulldogs are coming off an eight-place finish at the Carter Plantation Intercollegiate in Springfield, La. Sophomore Carlos Sainz, Jr. led all MSU competitors with his third top-20 finish of the season. Matt Fast leads the team in scoring with a 73.60 average. The Hattiesburg, Miss.-product has played in eight of the nine tournaments on the season.

The 12-team field includes – Chattanooga, Jacksonville State, Louisville, Memphis, Mercer, South Alabama, South Florida, Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Mississippi, Virginia Commonwealth and West Florida.

Competition will begin at 8 a.m. on Monday with first and second rounds. The 54-hole event will conclude with Tuesday's final round.

Women's Tennis
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mississippi State's women's tennis team dropped a 6-1 decision Sunday at No. 18 Vanderbilt. The loss was the second on the weekend, following Friday's setback to No. 22 Kentucky.

Vanderbilt took the first strike on the day, taking all three doubles matches. First off the court at No. 3, State's 55th-ranked tandem of Renee Joseph and Daniela Juskova dropped their first match of the season 8-3 to VU's Courtney Ulery and Liberty Sveke. VU clinched the doubles point at No. 2 when Taka Betrand and Catherine Newman took an 8-1 match against Lady Bulldogs Elna de Villiers and DeAndra Saddler. State's Martina Banikova and Valeriya Makarycheva dropped the final match 8-3 to VU's 26 th-ranked duo of Amanda Fish and Amanda Taylor.

After taking the early 1-0 lead, Vanderbilt never looked back, sweeping the first three singles contests to claim the win. First off at No. 4, VU's 102nd-ranked Betrand took a 6-1, 6-1 win against Joseph. At No. 6, State's Makarycheva was a 6-2, 6-0 victim of Lady Commodore Sveke. In the clinching match for Vandy, Ulery won in straight sets - 6-3, 6-2 - against State's Saddler.

In the remaining affairs, MSU's de Villiers fell 6-2, 6-1 versus Vandy's 33rd-ranked Taylor on court #2. At No. 3, VU's 34th-ranked Newman took identical 6-1 sets from MSU's Juskova. Last on the court, MSU's Martina Banikova lost a 6-2 first set, but battled back to take the second set 6-4 versus VU's 32 nd-ranked Fish. Banikova rode that momentum by taking a super tiebreaker 10-3 for the third and final set in her upset triumph.

"It was a little bit disappointing of a weekend," said MSU Head Coach Tracy Lane . "We played some pretty good tennis this weekend. We had a great attitude and great effort, all the right ingredients to win. We just got beat by two teams that were better than us. We just have to come home to regroup and get ready for next weekend."

The Lady Bulldogs will be back at action this Friday, March 30, on the opening day of Super Bulldog Weekend when they play host to Arkansas. The match is slated for 2 p.m. CT at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.


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