STARKVILLE, Miss. - Coming off three straight ten run games, Mississippi State (31-21 11-11) looks to continue its strong hitting when it heads on its last road trip of the season. MSU travels to Gainesville, Fla. for a three-game series against the No. 20 Gators. The series begins with a doubleheader on Friday, April 27 at 4 p.m. (CT). The following day, State will close out the series with a 12 p.m. (CT) game. The games can be heard on MSU's radio station, WMSV 91.1 FM and can also be heard live on the station's website, www.wmsv.msstate.edu. Fans can also follow all the action live at www.mstateathletics.com.
Mississippi State leads the all-time series with Florida, 16-12. In Starkville, MSU leads 7-5 while in Gainesville, the Gators lead 7-6. State leads 3-0 when played on a neutral field. Last year, Florida swept a three-game series in Starkville, 7-1, 2-0 and 2-1. UF has outscored the Bulldogs, 101-100, and have won five of the last six meetings.
Freshman Chelsea Bramlett continues to make her mark in her short collegiate career. The Cordova, Tenn. native currently leads the conference in stolen bases with 44, which sets a new MSU single-season record, and also leads in hits with 73. She is also tied for second in runs (50) and seventh with a .401 batting average.
Kelli Miller leads the Bulldogs from the mound with a 15-9 record and a 1.86 ERA. In 128.0 innings of work, the senior has struck out 66 batters. Kelsey Nurnberg is 7-3 with a 2.24 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 87.1 innings of work. Sara Hickerson currently leads the SEC in saves with nine.
The Gators are coming off a midweek doubleheader sweep of South Carolina. As a team, UF is hitting .257 with 64 doubles and 35 home runs. Florida has also stolen 97 bases in 115 attempts. Offensively, the Gators are led by Kim Waleszonia. The sophomore is hitting .365 with three home runs, 11 doubles, four triples and 25 RBI. She has also scored 40 runs. Ali Gardiner is hitting .308 with nine doubles, 33 RBI and 22 runs.
From the pitching circle, Florida is led primarily by two pitchers. Stacey Nelson leads the team with a 25-11 record and a 0.93 ERA. She also has 28 complete games, while striking out 213 batters. Stacey Stevens is 14-7 with a 2.24 ERA with 109 strikeouts in 156.1 innings. Opponents are hitting just .210 against Gator pitching.
Following this weekend's action, the Bulldogs will close out the regular season at home when they host Arkansas Friday and Saturday, May 4-5.
Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's track and field squad will begin competing in the 113th running of the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Penn., starting on Friday, April 27 at Franklin Field.
The Penn Relays welcome athletes from all over the world to compete in the prestigious event. The three-day meet features high school, college and other competitors will compete in more than 425 races.
MSU is coming off last weekend's competition at the Auburn Invitational with three more NCAA qualifier additions. Seniors Jen McPherson and Travis McKay added a second event to their NCAA schedule at the meet. McPherson, who qualified earlier in the season in the 1500-meter run, posted a qualifying mark in the 800-meter run with a time of two minutes, 8.71 seconds. McKay will compete at the NCAA Regional in the 3000-meter steeplechase and the 1500-meter run. Both individuals will compete in the Penn Relay events this weekend. State's 4x100-meter relay team also claimed a spot in the post-season regional at Auburn last Saturday.
Coming into this weekend's Penn Relays, the Maroon and White have garnered 12 NCAA Mideast Regional bids and two relay teams have earned qualifying marks (4x100 and 4x400). The NCAA Regional is set for May 25-26 in Columbia, Mo.
Following this weekend's activity, MState will break for spring semester finals on campus next week. The squad's next competition will be at the 2007 Southeastern Conference Track and Field Championships that will be held on May 10-13 at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State University Assistant Track and Field Coach Karen Illian has announced the signing of Ed Wesela to a national-letter-of-intent to compete for the Bulldogs in track and field.
Wesela, a native of Slinger, Wis. and attends Slinger High School, he won the 2006 Wisconsin Division I State Championship in the shot put competition with a mark of 60 feet, three and a quarter inches. His personal-best mark came this past June in the Golden West meet in Folsom, Calif. At the summer event, he posted a toss of 61-09 ¼ in the shot put. For his efforts, Wesela was named to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's all-Area boys track and field team for 2006.
"It's going to be a new experience for me coming down south from the north," said Wesela. "When I came on my visit, I learned some new things and some new food."
He became a state qualifier for the 2007 outdoor season with a throw of 58-03 ¾ and recently won the shot put competition at the 2007 TFA Indoor Championships in early April with a mark of 59-11 ½. He is a two-time named to wisconsintrackandfield.com's honor roll in 2006 and '07. His mark in 2006 was the second-best in the state while his mark at the TFA Indoor is tops in the state this season.
"Ed (Wesela) will make an immediate impact on our conference in the shot put and we are hopeful he will also make an immediate impact in the hammer," said Karen Illian, who coaches the throwing events at MSU. "Ed is a hard worker and extremely talented athlete. We are excited to have him as part of our family."
A three-sport athlete for the Owls of SHS, Wesela was a member of the football team where he garnered all-Conference honors on the defensive side of the ball. He also claimed sixth in the state during the 2006 wrestling campaign.
He is the son of Edward III and Patti Wesela and intends to major in kinesiology on the Starkville campus.