STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State (33-24, 13-14) held off a late Arkansas (21-42, 6-21) rally to defeat the Lady 'Backs, 3-1, in the first game of a doubleheader before falling in the nightcap, 11-8.
In the first game, MSU batted around in the first inning. After Chelsea Bramlett popped the first pitch she saw to short, Hayle Guess singled up the middle and stole second. Courtney Bures then hit a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall for her third home run of the season, giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead. Katie Cooley and Sammie Jo Bailey followed with singles. Two batters later, Jessie Bailey singled, scoring Cooley. Blair Hewett walked to load the bases. But, Nakita Boyce struck out ending the inning, but not before State had a 3-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, Jessica Bachkora led off with an infield single, and stole second. But, Kelli Miller struck out Miranda Dixon, then got Whitney Cloer and Samantha Buckner to ground out, ending the inning.
Arkansas got on the board in the fifth. Dayna Huckabee drew a leadoff walk. Two batters later, Miller hit Teighynne Hulsey, putting runners at first and second. Pinch-hitter Kayla Johnson then singled, loading the bases. Miller struck out Rachel LeMaster for the second out of the inning, but Bachkora singled to center, scoring Huckabee and cutting the lead to 3-1. Dixon stranded the bases loaded, hitting into a fielder's choice.
The Lady 'Backs squandered an opportunity in the sixth. Cloer and Buckner singled to lead off the inning. Sara Hickerson came in relief of Miller, and immediately struck out Huckabee and got Brittany Robison to ground to third. Hickerson then loaded the bases, walking Hillary Freeman. But, Johnson grounded back to Hickerson, leaving the bases full.
Kelli Miller went five innings, striking out three to improve to 16-9. Sara Hickerson went the final two innings for her nation-leading tenth save.
In the second game, Arkansas won a slugfest, 11-8. The Lady Razorbacks took advantage of a plethora of MSU miscues in the first inning. LeMaster led off with a single to right field. Two batters later, Kelsey Nurnberg hit Miranda Dixon with the first pitch. After a passed ball advanced them a base, Samantha Buckner singled, scoring LeMaster with the first run. Whitney Cloer then reached on Jessie Bailey's fielding error, scoring Dixon. After the runners advanced on a Nurnberg wild pitch, Huckabee struck out for the second out. But, Brittany Robison drove in Buckner, and Cloer scored on Nurnbergâ€™s second wild pitch of the inning. Jessica Waddle flew out to end the inning, but not before the Lady 'Backs held a 4-0 lead after a half inning.
But, MSU came right back in the bottom half. Chelsea Bramlett singled and stole second. Hayle Guess then reached on a bunt single, and stole second. After Courtney Bures struck out, Katie Cooley got the Bulldogs on the board, singling to right field and scoring Bramlett and Guess to cut the deficit in half. Two batters later, Katie Johnson singled, scoring Cooley.
State grabbed the lead in the second. Michelle Kinney and Nakita Boyce singled, and advanced on a passed ball. Bramlett then tied the game with a sacrifice fly that brought in Kinney. Guess followed with a single to give the Bulldogs the lead. After Guess stole second, Bures singled. Cooley then hit a ground ball that third baseman Brandy Baze couldn't handle, allowing Guess to score and make it 6-4 MSU.
However, Arkansas regained the lead in the fourth. Dayna Huckabee hit a leadoff triple, and Robison drove her home with a single. Jess Reed then reached when Kelsey Nurnberg threw her bunt attempt away. Sara Hickerson came in for Nurnberg, pinch-hitter Kayla Johnson hit her 0-1 offering over the left field wall for an 8-6 UA lead.
Once again, Mississippi State answered in the bottom half. With two outs, Bures walked. Cooley then hit her fourth home run of the year over the center field fence to tie the game at eight. The home run gave Cooley 17 on her career, moving her into sole possession of fourth place all-time at MSU.
But, the Lady 'Backs responded in the fifth. Buckner singled, and Whitney Cloer walked. Huckabee followed with a single to load the bases. Two batters later, Jess Reed sent a shot of Jessie Bailey's glove, bringing home Buckner and Cloer, and giving UA the 10-8 lead.
Arkansas added an insurance run the seventh on Huckabee's home run. Katie Cooley led the Bulldogs, going 2-4 with two runs and four RBI.
The teams will close out the series tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. (CT). The Bulldogs will honor its nine seniors before the game.
Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State University Associate Head Track and Field Coach Steve Dudley has announced the signing Emmanuel Mayers out of Lakewood, N.J. to a national letter-of-intent to compete on the Bulldog track squad.
Mayers, recently won the high school boys 400-meter hurdles at the 113th Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pa. last weekend. The Lakewood High School senior clocked a time of 52.81 seconds to win the event. The mark tuned in by Mayers was .03 seconds off his personal best of 52.78. For his win at the Penn Relays, Mayers was recently named ShoreConferenceSports.com's Boy's Track and Field Athlete of the Week for April 30.
"We are very happy to have added Emmanuel to our team," said Dudley. "He was the top 400 hurdle athlete in the country last year. Emmanuel brings talent as well as a great attitude to our team."
An all-State honoree in 2006, Mayers competed in the 400m hurdles at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. last June and placed sixth with a mark of 53.24. In other summer competition, Mayers clocked his personal-best time of 52.78 at the NJSIAA/The Star Ledger NJ Meet of Champions. A competitor during the indoor track season as well, Mayers owned the top-time in the 55-meter hurdles of the Shore Conference in New Jersey at 7.45.
"It came down to Mississippi State and Oregon and I chose MSU because it felt more like home," said Mayers. "I love the coaches, the way the practice and the campus is beautiful. I can't wait to start competing in the SEC."
He has competed in cross country, indoor and outdoor track all four prep years at LHS. His best times reported in the 110-meter hurdles, triple jump and long jump are 14.2, 43 feet and 21.05 respectively. He will make a return trip to the Nike National Outdoors in North Carolina this coming summer.
Off the track, Mayers is involved in the History and Sociology Club's at Lakewood. He is the son of Karen and Andrien Mayers. He has a keen interest in majoring in computer engineering when he arrives on campus next fall.