News from MSU Media Relations--April 18

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

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State (28-19) only connected for three hits, but they made them count, as the Bulldogs defeated UAB (27-23), 4-1 at the MSU Softball Field.

MSU got on the board in the first inning. With two outs, Hayle Guess walked and stole second. Courtney Bures then doubled down the left field line, scoring Guess with the games first run.

UAB threatened in the top of the second. Nicole Tumlin grounded to second with two outs, but Chelsea Bramlett had the ball bounce off her glove, extending the inning. Jennifer Nelson then walked, but Kayla Harris grounded to Jessie Bailey, who stepped on third to end the inning.

The Blazers tied the game in the third. Leigh Walker led off with a single up the middle, and stole second. Two batters later, Jennifer Nelson singled to left, bringing home Walker with the tying run.

The Bulldogs regained the lead in the bottom half. Guess drew a leadoff walk, her second of the game, then stole second. Bures then laid down a sacrifice bunt that brought Guess all the way home for a 2-1 lead.

State added another run in fifth inning. Michelle Kinney drew a one-out walk, and advanced to second on Bramlett's ground out. Nakita Boyce then grounded to the pitcher, but Nelson threw the ball in the dirt, allowing Boyce to reach and Kinney to come home with MSU's third run.

MSU tacked on an insurance run in the sixth, taking advantage of the Blazers second error of the game.

"We got a great pitching again from Kelli (Miller)," said MSU head coach Jay Miller. "Sara (Hickerson) came in and finished off that last inning. I thought we were too anxious at the plate, but we were able to manufacture a few things on the bases. But, overall, we need to start swinging the bat better."

Kelli Miller went six innings striking out three to improve to 12-8. Sara Hickerson came on for the final three outs to earn her conference-leading eighth save.

Courtney Bures led MSU at the plate, going 2-2 with two RBI.

The Bulldogs return to action tomorrow, when they travel to Itta Bena, Miss. for a 6 p.m. (CT) game with Mississippi Valley State.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - A total of eight Mississippi State basketball players were named to the 2006-07 Southeastern Conference Winter Academic Honor Roll, as announced Tuesday by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. Bulldogs Billy Begley and Piotr Stelmach along with Lady Bulldogs Robin Porter, Miayorka Johnson, Marneshia Richard, Lauren Roberts, Amy Reeder and Bethany Workman were all honored for their off-the-court achievements.

Porter, Richard and Workman all earned Academic Honor Roll honors for the second consecutive year, while Johnson earned her first selection to the team. Reeder was named to the squad for the third consecutive year.

State's women tied for second in the league with six women's basketball players named to the squad. South Carolina led the way with 10, while Tennessee also added six. In Sharon Fanning's 12 seasons at the helm of the program, a total of 58 student-athletes have earned SEC Academic Honor Roll honors.

In addition to achieving SEC Academic Honor Roll status for each of the past three seasons, both Stelmach and Begley also earned SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll accolades as collegiate freshmen in 2003-04.

Along with leading all conference schools with a total of 20 SEC Academic Honor Roll recipients in men's basketball over the past five seasons, the Bulldogs are also tied for second in the league with 27 total academic honorees since Stansbury took over State's head coaching duties in 1998.

MState ranked fourth in the league with the eight men's and women's basketball selections. Tennessee led the way with 13 honorees, while Florida and South Carolina added 10 each. Kentucky had seven named, while Alabama, Georgia and LSU each added six student-athletes. Vanderbilt added five, while Arkansas and Auburn each had four. Mississippi had one basketball student-athlete named to the list.

Encompassing the winter sports of basketball, gymnastics, swimming and diving, rifle and bowling, a total of 341 student-athletes were named to the Winter Academic Honor Roll, which is based on grades from the 2006 spring, summer and fall terms.

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State tennis player Ryan Farlow has been selected to the 2007 Southeastern Conference Men's Tennis Community Service Team, announced this week.

The Madison, Miss., native has not only excelled in the classroom, but has also used some of his time to give back to the Starkville community.

Farlow worked with the Student M-Club to perform several community service projects throughout this past year. Most recently, Farlow participated in the "Reading with Starkville" program, which promotes reading to secondary school students in Starkville. Farlow is a member of the Beta Alpha Psi Accounting Honor Society and is a member of the Mississippi State student athlete advisory committee. He is also this year's men's tennis and overall men's winner of the MSU Newsome Award which signifies the top scholar-athlete in each sport.

The SEC sponsors Community Service Teams in all 20 sports. The purpose of the SEC Community Service Team is to highlight athletes from each school who gives back to their community in superior service efforts.

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State lady netter Renee Joseph was selected to the 2007 Southeastern Conference Women's Tennis Community Service Team, announced this week.

The Rock Hill, S.C. , native garnered the honor for the second time in her collegiate career. In her sophomore year, she was selected to the SEC Good Works Team (renamed the Community Service Team this year).

Joseph has been involved with the Mississippi State M-Club for three years as well as doing community service outside of the M-Club. She has read for elementary kids, spoken at after-school programs, and represented MSU at the NCAA Leadership Conference in Florida this past May. Working with the M-Club, she has collected and donated clothes and other items to send to the gulf coast after Hurricane Katrina. Joseph also visited a Girl Scout troop at a local church to talk to them about leadership and working hard.

State's lone upperclassman, Joseph is a member of MSU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She also is a member of the FCA Leadership team at MSU. Joseph has been named the Newsom Award recipient, annually given to the outstanding student-athlete in each MSU sport, for women's tennis in each of the past two years.

Joseph is accompanied by 11 other women's tennis players from around the SEC on the Community Service Team, including Shelley Godwin ( Alabama), Alex Haney ( Auburn), Natalie Frazier (Georgia ), Kim Coventry (Kentucky), Mimi Renaudin ( Mississippi), Christyn Lucas (South Carolina ), Ghizela Schutte (Tennessee) and Amanda Taylor (Vanderbilt).

The SEC sponsors Community Service Teams in all 20 sports. The Community Service Team looks to highlight athletes from each school who gives back to their community in superior service efforts.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State women's tennis standout Martina Banikova was selected to the 2007 Southeastern Conference Women's Tennis all-SEC Second Team, announced Tuesday by the league office. It is the Kosice, Slovakia, native's first career all-SEC laurel.

Banikova is 16-14 overall and 9-7 in dual matches in 2007. She attained the first national ranking of her career on April 3, coming in at No. 71, and has climbed to No. 53 in the nation in Tuesday's latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll. She has clinched two Lady Bulldogs wins this season, including State's SEC victory over Alabama.

The Lady Bulldog sophomore has registered three wins over top 40 opponents this spring, including one in the top 10. She is 4-6 in SEC, playing all her matches at the No. 1 position in the State lineup.

Banikova is the first Lady Bulldog to earn all-SEC honors since 2005 and the ninth player in MSU women's tennis history to do so.

The 11th-seeded Lady Bulldogs open competition in the 2007 SEC Championship this Thursday, April 19, taking on sixth-seeded host Kentucky. The match is slated for 9 a.m. CT at UK's Hilary Boone Tennis Complex.

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