News from MSU Media Relations--April 1

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

Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Both the men's and women's Mississippi State track and field teams won the Bulldog Invitational on Saturday at the W.O Spencer Stadium/Carl Maddox Track as part of Super Bulldog Weekend activities. The Lady Bulldogs scored 228 points while the Bulldogs registered 249.

The Maroon and White won 11 events combined throughout the day. The Bulldogs took home top honors in the men's 3000-meter steeplechase,1500-meter run, 800-meter run along with the 400-meter dash and hurdles. State's women garnered wins in the 400-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles. MSU's 4x100 relay team was victorious in the event. The triple jump was the lone win in field events on the women's side.

Freshman Wendy Copeland of Tupelo, Miss., garnered one of three NCAA regional qualifying marks in women's field events for MSU. Copeland registered a mark of six feet, four inches in the long jump. Senior Nicola Wilson carded a regional mark with a toss of 47-07.75. Christina Hernandez posted her second regional qualifying mark of the season in the discus with a throw of 156-01.

"It was a good weekend," said MSU head coach Al Schmidt. "The wind was a bit tough today for the sprints. Anytime you get NCAA qualifiers, it's a good day and we won the event, which makes it even better."

Daniel Simpkins claimed medalist honors in the men's 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of nine minutes, 50.32 seconds. State junior Jonathan Rono won the 1,500-meter run, clocking a time of 3:57.84. Freshman Demetrius Cobbins registered a personal-best 22-05.00 in the men's long jump. In the men's 400-meter run, MState claimed the top four spots in the event with senior Ezra Jones finishing first at 47.54. In men's field events, MSU's Allen Cassell won the high jump with a feat of 6-08.75. The mark for the Port Gibson, Miss.-native set a new personal mark in that event.

MSU honored four student-athletes for their achievements in the classroom on Saturday with the presentation of the Newsom Award. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in the classroom and in athletics. The 2007 recipients of the award include Joy Griffith, women's track, Annie Falor, women's cross country, Ryan Irwin, men's track and Travis McKay, cross country.

The Maroon and White will travel to Austin, Texas for the storied Texas Relays April 4-7. The men's decathlon and women's heptathlon will start the 80th edition of the Texas Relays on Wednesday, April 7.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - For the second straight series, Mississippi State (23-15, 6-7) swept a Saturday doubleheader, this time defeating South Carolina (25-12, 3-7), 2-1 and 4-3.

"These were two great wins," said MSU head coach Jay Miller. "The kids came out and fought and battled. Again, I was a little disappointed with how we swung the bats, in the first game especially. We got those two runs in the first inning, and then just sat on them. We did a better job in the second game. Pitching-wise, we got great pitching by Kelli (Miller) in the first game. I thought both Kelsey (Nurnberg) and Sara (Hickerson) threw well in the second game. It was a good performance on the mound, with some clutch hitting."

After Kelli Miller retired the Gamecocks in order in the first, Chelsea Bramlett led off the bottom half with a bunt single, and Nakita Boyce singled to right field. Hayle Guess then took a pitch in the back, loading the bases with no outs. Melissa Hendon then got Courtney Bures and Katie Cooley to pop to first. But, Jessie Bailey singled to center field, scoring Bramlett and Boyce, give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead after one inning.

MState threatened in the third. Hendon struck out Boyce and Guess to start the inning. She then hit Bures, and Cooley singled, putting runners at the corners. But, Jessie Bailey lined to short, ending the threat.

South Carolina got a run back in the sixth. With one out, Lindsay Walker singled through the right side, and advanced to second on McKenna Hughes' ground out. Becky Martinez then singled to right, knocking in Walker and cutting the lead to 2-1.

In the top of the seventh, Miller hit pinch-hitter Jacqueline Wetherbee to lead off the seventh, and advanced to second on Whitney Wierzbicki's sacrifice bunt. Miller was then replaced by Sara Hickerson, who retired Ashton Payne and Jessica Josker for her seventh save of the year. Miller moved to 9-6.

In the second game, Katie Johnson's double with one out in the seventh inning scored Katie Cooley with the game-winning run and gave Mississippi State a 4-3 come-from-behind victory.

With one out, Cooley walked, and Jessie Bailey singled up the middle. After a double steal, Johnson hit a 0-2 pitch off the center field wall to win the game.

South Carolina took an early lead in the second inning. Jessica Josker led off with a single and moved to second on Martinez' sacrifice bunt. Josker then moved to third on a wild pitch, and came home when Lisa Longo flied out to center field.

MSU finally broke through in the sixth. Bures singled and Cooley walked to lead off. Pinch-hitter Laurie Siebert then laid down a sacrifice bunt that pitcher Kate Pouliot fielded, but threw away, allowing Bures to come around with the tying run and putting runners in scoring position. Cooley then gave the Bulldogs the lead on a wild pitch. After Katie Johnson popped up, Sammie Jo Bailey singled, scoring pinch-runner Jessie Bailey. One out later, Bramlett and Boyce singled, loading the bases. Melissa Hendon came on in relief of Pouliot and got Guess to ground to third, ending the inning, but not after MSU took a 3-1 lead.

However, the Gamecocks put together a rally of their own. With one out, pinch-hitter Adele Voigt singled to right field, and Lindsay Walker singled to second. Ashton Payne then grounded to first for the second out of the inning. But, McKenna Hughes hit Sara Hickerson's 2-1 offering of the left field wall, tying the game at three and setting up Johnson's heroics.

Hickerson threw the final 1 2/3 innings to improve to 4-4. Cooley was 2-2 with two runs and two walks, and Johnson went 1-4 with the game-winning RBI.

State looks to close out its first three-game home conference sweep tomorrow since April 16-17, 2005 against Arkansas with the series finale at 1 p.m. (CT). Admission to all MSU softball games is free. Fans can follow all the action live on 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,

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Fresh off a road victory Friday at Arkansas, the Mississippi State men's tennis team will return home Sunday to host #13 LSU. Match time is set for 1 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on the MSU campus and will be played in conjunction with Super Bulldog Weekend activities on campus.

The Bulldogs enter Sunday's match with a 6-9 overall record, including a 3-4 clip in the league. State is winners of three straight matches and have the most consecutive league wins since the beginning of the 2005 season when MSU started Southeastern Conference play 5-0. The Bulldogs are currently led by junior Ivan Bjelica, who is 22-11 overall this season including a 10-2 mark at #1 singles. Also helping State's cause is sophomore Ryan Farlow and Freshman Chris Doerr. Farlow is 10-3 in dual matches this year while Doerr is 6-1.

LSU is 12-4 overall this year and is 4-3 in SEC play. The Tigers are led by 24th-ranked Ken Skupski who is 20-12 overall this season including a 9-7 mark in dual matches. The Tigers are coming off a 4-3 loss Friday at Mississippi.

In the 37 previous meetings between the two programs, State has only won nine. However in their last meeting in the SEC Tournament last season, the Bulldogs downed the Tigers in the first round and became the first #12 seed to win a match in the tournament.

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