News from MSU Media Relations--February 13

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Baseball, Softball, Men's Tennis and Women's Basketball.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Due to anticipated inclimate weather this weekend, the move-in process for vehicles parking in the outfield at Dudy Noble Field has been postponed.

Originally scheduled for this weekend, outfield parking move-in is now set to begin at 2 p.m. Friday, February 22.

Mississippi State opens its 2008 baseball schedule Feb. 22-24 in Jacksonville, Fla., with a three-game series against the University of North Florida. State opens its 31-game home schedule Feb. 26 when the Bulldogs take on the UAB Blazers in a 4 p.m. contest. That game begins a season-longest run of 14 consecutive games at Dudy Noble Field.

The MSU Athletic Department Ticket Office reports the processing orders for 4,049 baseball season tickets through Feb. 12. MSU sold 5,364 baseball season tickets in 2007, third-most in school history, 233 shy of the school record set in 2002.

General admission season tickets, available through the ticket office (662-325-8040) in the Bryan Athletic Administration Building, cost $140.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - The national honors keep coming in for the Mississippi State softball team, which has jumped out to a 5-0 start to the season. The Bulldogs earned a No. 21 national ranking in the first regular season Softball Top 25 Poll and a No. 22 rating in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll heading into Wednesday's home opener against Mississippi Valley State at the MSU Softball Field.

State received votes in the preseason rankings, but it jumped into both polls after knocking off then-No. 20 Oregon, Cal State Northridge, UC Riverside, San Diego State and California at the Cathedral City Kickoff in Cathedral City, Calif.

The rankings are the highest debut ever in either poll, and it is the earliest the Bulldogs have been ranked since the 2001 squad received a No. 23 preseason rating by the NFCA.

"Obviously it is nice to be recognized by your peers," MSU head coach Jay Miller said. "In the big picture it doesn't mean as much because it's how you finish in the end that is most important, but we are very excited about the 5-0 start to the season. Going west and beating some very tough competition will help our team in the long haul. We are excited about this honor, and we are excited to be back playing in front of the home fans."

Wednesday's home opener will be the first of four meetings with the Devilettes this season. MSU leads the overall series 8-1.

Sophomore Chelsea Bramlett sparks the MState offense as it looks to match the third-best start in school history. The Cordova, Tenn., native earned SEC Player of the Week honors after hitting .647 with a grand slam, six RBI, seven runs scored and three stolen bases en route to leading the Bulldogs to a share of the Cathedral City Kickoff championship. Bramlett tied her career high for hits with a 4-for-4 performance against San Diego State while setting a career-best RBI mark with her four in the win over UC Riverside.

State was led in the circle during the season-opening tournament by junior Kelsey Nurnberg, who went 3-0 with a pair of shutouts and a save. Freshman Misty Flesher also pitched well in her collegiate debut. The Tulsa, Okla., native posted a 2-0 record and picked up a save in sealing a 4-1, nine-inning win over California on Sunday. Flesher captured two freshman records over the weekend, becoming the first to start her career 2-0 and striking out nine batters in the win over Cal State Northridge.

MVSU opened the year 3-2, dropping a 5-2 decision to UAB in the season opener and a 10-9, 10-inning decision to North Carolina A&T before posting victories over Norfolk State, Hampton and South Carolina State.

The Bulldogs remain at home following Wednesday's opener, hosting Southern Illinois, Wright State and Fordham in the Bulldog Round-Robin Feb. 15-17. Admission to all MSU home games is free of charge.

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team will open a three-match homestand Wednesday, as they play host to the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns. Match time is slated for a 1 p.m. CT start at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on the MSU campus.

The Bulldogs (1-2), are coming off a pair of close losses last week to #5 Mississippi in the River Hills Cup and 41st-ranked Georgia Tech. State will be trying to up its home record to 2-0 after a convincing season-opening home win over UAB. Senior Ivan Bjelica enters Wednesday's match with a 2-0 dual-match record and a 6-1 overall mark this season. Junior Ryan Farlow has gone 2-1 in his first three dual matches this season, playing at the #3 spot.

"We look forward to playing at home the next week and a half," said MSU head coach Per Nilsson. "We will have three tough challenges starting Wednesday with Louisiana-Lafayette. Our guys are anxious to get back on the courts and we look forward to some great tennis."

The Ragin Cajuns, coached by former MSU All-American Mark Jeffrey, are 1-4 this season. ULL is led on the courts by sophomores Janusz Conradi and Jorge Delgado.

The Bulldogs hold a 16-10 all time series lead over ULL including a commanding 14-2 mark in Starkville. The Bulldogs have also won the last three in the series dating back to 2000. In a matchup last season in Starkville, MSU bested the Ragin Cajuns 5-2.

Following Wednesday's match, State will return to action on Sunday, Feb. 17 to host South Alabama. That match at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre is set for 1 p.m.

Women's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Former Mississippi State women's basketball players return to the MSU campus this weekend as part of the annual Alumni Weekend festivities. The two-day event will run from Saturday until Sunday, highlighting some great names in Lady Bulldog basketball history.

The festivities kick off on Saturday when returning alumni will cheer on the MSU men's basketball team as they host Arkansas. Following the game, the alumni will enjoy a "Memories" Dinner to reflect back on their time in Starkville. Those returning to campus will be recognized during halftime of Sunday's game.

Among the former greats scheduled to return to campus include Sharon Thompson, Tara Armistead, Kiki Westerfield, Evette Porter, Tamela Martin, Meadow Overstreet, Sabrina Scott, Julan Outlaw, Ann Sanders Carr, Kunshinge Sorrell Howard, Sherryl Hayes, Kathy Glasgow, Keisha Stringfellow, Cynthia Johnson, Polly Branch Pund, Mamie McKinney, Elizabeth Wamsley, Stacie Temple, Melinda Brown, Nitra Perry, Marilyn Colyer, Barbara Thomas, Jemmye Ann Helms, Tammy Newlon Gilliham, Betty Helms, Daisy Wiggins, Jessica Carter, Doceide Warren, Tiania Burns, Blessing Chekwa, Renea Jones, Charitah Jarrett and Caroline Kelly.

Fans are encouraged to come out and support the current Lady Bulldogs and honor these former alumni during Sunday's game with Georgia. Tipoff between the Lady Bulldogs and UGA is slated for 2 p.m. CT.

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