News from MSU Media Relations--February 17

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Softball, Track & Field, Men's Tennis, Women's Golf and Men's Golf.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Courtney Bures went 3-for-5 with a home run, three RBI and three runs scored to help lead the 21st-ranked Mississippi State softball team to a 6-5, nine-inning win over Fordham and a 5-2 victory over Wright State Saturday evening at the Bulldog Round-Robin on the MSU campus.

Jessie Bailey finished the day 3-for-7 with two RBI and a run as she helped move State to 10-0 on the year, the second-best start in school history. A pair of freshmen earned the two wins for MSU in the two games. Elizabeth Woolven earned her first career victory in Saturday's nightcap, allowing a pair of unearned runs on seven hits with three strikeouts.

Misty Flesher picked up the victory over Fordham, hurling six innings and allowing two runs on four hits with four strikeouts to improve to 4-0 in her rookie campaign.

"I thought our team did a good job of answering in both games after they other teams scored in the first inning," MSU head coach Jay Miller said. "We had great pitching again tonight. Misty Flesher did a great job in relief for us in the opening game, and Elizabeth (Woolven) pitched well in picking up her first win. She did a nice job of settling down after that first inning. We made some nice plays behind her defensively tonight, and we were able to put some runs on the board. I thought we played well offensively tonight, and we can produce runs when we are patient at the plate."

Wright State jumped on top early with a pair of runs in the first inning, but just as in the day's opening game, State answered in the home half of the opening frame. With two outs, Bures was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Sammie Jo Bailey brought her home with her towering fly ball that was misjudged by the WSU left fielder for a double. Bailey advanced to second on a Hayle Guess single, and she scored as Guess stole second and the throw skipped into center field.

The runs would be all Woolven would need as she limited the Raiders to just five hits the remaining six innings. The offense gave the Nettleton, Miss., native some insurance, however, as the Bulldogs produced a run in the third and another in the fourth.

Bures delivered the MSU run in the fourth as her single scored Nakita Boyce, who led off the inning with a single and a stolen base. Freshman Jessie Spain reached on a single, and with two outs, she scored on Lindsay Hunley's base hit up the middle.

Jessie Bailey kept MSU's undefeated record intact with her ninth-inning, one-out base hit to lead the Bulldogs over Fordham. After stifling the lead run at third in the top of the eighth, Bainbridge moved Guess, who was at second due to the international tie-breaker, to second with a sacrifice bunt. Bailey lined the first pitch she saw into center field to plate Guess with the game-winning run.

Fordham jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, but State responded with four runs in the home half of the frame. Chelsea Bramlett, who went 3-for-4 in the opening game and 3-for-7 overall, led off with a single, and after stealing second, she moved to third on Nakita Boyce's ground-out.

Courtney Bures then hit her second home run in as many days, a two-run shot down the line in left, to put MSU up 2-0. Sammie Jo Bailey followed with single, and after advancing on a wild pitch, Hayle Guess reached on an error by the third baseman. Ali Bainbridge and Jessie Bailey capped the MState four-run burst with back-to-back RBI singles.

State added another run in the third. After Bures led off with a double, Sammie Jo Bailey advanced her with a sacrifice bunt. Guess then delivered a base hit that plated Bures for a 5-3 edge. Fordham erased that deficit with two outs in the top of the seventh. With one out in the frame, Allison Twarowski doubled, and two hitters later Jocelyn Dearborn tied the game with a two-run shot off the scoreboard in left field.

The Bulldogs close out their six-game homestand Sunday against Southern Illinois in a game scheduled for a noon first pitch. Admission to all MSU home games is free of charge.

Track & Field
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Mississippi State junior Marrissa Harris jumped a personal-best five feet, six inches to spring her way into MState's all-time list in the high jump on Saturday at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. The Memphis-native finished fourth in the event overall and was the top Southeastern Conference finisher in the event.

Freshman Simone Domingue ran well in the 3000-meter run, posting a time of 10:04.61 to finish in the top 10 in the field while also notching a personal-best time.

Sophomores LaQuinta Aaron and Wendy Copeland both competed in the 200-meter dash, picking up personal-best marks in the competition. Freshman Diamond Marks also ran in the 800-meter run and garnered a personal-best time.

"We had a decent weekend," said Head Coach Al Schmidt. "We had a school record with Marrissa (Harris) in the hurdles. Simone (Domingue) had a personal best in the 3000. The best performance was from Wendy (Copeland) in the long jump. Overall, we had a decent weekend at an event where there were a large number of teams."

MState returns to action on Feb. 29-Mar. 2 (Fri.-Sun.),competing at the 2008 SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's men's tennis team will continue its three-match homestand Sunday as they play host to 41st-ranked South Alabama at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on the MSU campus. Match time is set for 1 p.m. CT. In case of rain, the match will be moved indoors to the McCarthy Gym.

MSU (2-2), enters the matchup coming off a 6-1 win this past week over Louisiana-Lafayette. The Bulldogs won five singles matches and won the doubles point to move to 2-0 at home this season. Ranked 53rd in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association's poll, the Bulldogs are led by senior Ivan Bjelica and Ryan Farlow. Bjelica is 7-1 this spring and 3-0 in dual matches. Farlow has claimed 13 victories this season, including three dual match wins.

South Alabama comes into Sunday's match with a 1-2 record this season. After a season-opening win over North Florida, the Jaguars have dropped matches to #16 Florida State and Central Florida. The Jaguars are currently led by junior Jack Baker. Ranked 20th in the latest singles rankings, Baker is 2-1 in dual matches. Baker and Marek Sramek are ranked eighth-nationally in doubles.

In the all time series with USA, State holds an 11-7 lead. The Bulldogs hold a 7-4 mark in matches played in Starkville. Last season, South Alabama defeated MSU 5-2 in Mobile, Ala.

Following Sunday's match, the Bulldogs will take six days away from action. Their next match, which will be the last before SEC play, will be against Georgia State on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. CT.

Women's Golf
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State women's golf team will open its spring season Sunday at the Qdoba Invitational held at Don Shula's Golf Club in Miami Lakes, Fla. The three-day event is hosted by the Univeristy of Miami.

The lineup for State features senior Julia Huh, junior Jillian Jones, sophomore Suzanne Stanley along with freshmen Erika Thorton and Mallory Batson. While Huh, Stanley, Thornton and Batson played in all four fall tournaments, Jones returns to the lineup to play in her first tournament since the 2006 fall campaign.

"The team looks forward to starting the season in Miami where we expect favorable weather conditions," said MSU head coach Christi Sanders. "We will focus on continuing to lower our stroke averages from the fall, both individually and as a team."

Last fall, the Lady Bulldogs compiled a 307.08 stroke average and were led by Huh and Thornton who finished with a 76.75 average. All five State players who competed in the fall had stroke averages under 80.

In this weekend's tournament, MSU will join 11 other teams, including three squads who rank in the nation's top 30. Participating schools include Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, host- Miami, Mississippi State, New Mexico State, San Jose State, South Florida, Southern Mississippi and Virginia.

Sunday's first round will begin with an 11:30 a.m. CT shotgun start. The second and third rounds will also be a shotgun start beginning at 7:30 a.m. CT.

Men's Golf
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The 25th-ranked Mississippi State men's golf team will make the trip west to San Antonio, Texas, to compete in the 13th annual Roadrunner Intercollegiate at the par 72, Oak Hills Country Club.

The Bulldogs are a week removed from a third place finish at the SunTrust Gator Invitational. In Gainesville, Fla., where MState had three individuals finish among the top 20, with senior Josh Oller finishing in a tie for 19th, and juniors Carlos Sainz, Jr. and Noah Goldman who each tied for 12th in the three round event.

MSU will play the first two rounds on Monday followed by the final round on Tuesday. Making the trip for the Bulldogs will be seniors Josh Oller and Jake Lambert, and a trio of juniors, Matt Fast, Noah Goldman and Josh Bevell. Bevell has competed in all seven of the Bulldog tournaments this year, Goldman will be making his sixth-straight tournament appearance, and Fast, the fall stroke average leader, will be playing in his fifth tournament. Oller is playing in his fifth tournament of the season and is coming off a 1-over par performance at the SunTrust Gator Invitational. Lambert is making his second straight appearance for MState.

"The field is not as strong as the Gator Invitational, but we are still facing some very competitive schools," said head coach Clay Homan. "For us to win we will have show up focused and give a quality performance."

The field for the Roadrunner Intercollegiate is headlined by 18th ranked Texas Tech, and it also includes Air Force, Central Arkansas, DePaul, Illinois State, Louisiana-Monroe, Marshall, McNeese State, Rhode Island, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, Texas State, Witchita State and host-Texas San-Antonio.

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