News from MSU Media Relations--February 19

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

STARKVILLE, Miss. - A week removed from claiming a share of the Cathedral City Kickoff title, No. 21 Mississippi State added the Bulldog Round-Robin championship thanks to Hayle Guess' two-out single in the bottom of the seventh that lifted the Bulldogs to a 4-3 win over Southern Illinois Sunday afternoon at the MSU Softball Field.

State improves to 11-0 on the season, while the Salukis finished the weekend at 8-2 overall. Guess earned all-tournament honors after hitting .313 with a home run, four RBI and three runs scored. She also stole three bases over the five-game tournament.

Guess' heroics in the seventh were set-up by senior Courtney Bures, who earned Most Outstanding Player accolades after hitting .400 with a home run, four RBI and four runs scored. After back-to-back base hits from Chelsea Bramlett and Nakita Boyce, both runners stole third and second, respectively. Bramlett and Boyce, the top two hitters in the MState line-up, combined to go 6-for-8 at the plate and account for all four MSU runs in Sunday's finale.

Bures followed with a ground ball that allowed Bramlett to score, and following a Sammie Jo Bailey pop-out for the second out of the frame, Guess landed the game-winning hit just in front of Saluki right fielder Katie Wilson.

Kelsey Nurnberg moved to 6-0 on the year as she allowed three runs, one earned, on five hits with two strikeouts in the complete-game effort. Nikki Waters suffered the loss for SIU, allowing four runs on 10 hits while dropping to 3-1 on the campaign.

"This was a great weekend for our team," Bulldog head coach Jay Miller, who sits four wins shy of the 900-career win mark, said. "Hayle (Guess) made some outstanding plays in center field today, and she came up with a very big hit. I was very pleased with the way Kelsey (Nurnberg) threw the ball today, and our team really battled well. We had three come-from-behind wins this weekend, and the way we kept battling is a sign of a great team."

Waters stifled MSU through the first four innings while her offense scored a run each in the first and second innings for a 2-0 lead. State tied the game in the fifth as Bramlett led off with a single. Boyce scored her with a base hit, and after advancing to third on Sammie Jo Bailey's one-out single, she scored on Guess' ground-out to first.

The tie ball game did not last long, however, as SIU re-gained the lead on a Bulldog error in the sixth to set-up State's seventh-inning heroics.

Freshman pitcher Misty Flesher and Sammie Jo Bailey also earned all-tourament accolades along with Nikki Waters, Alicia Garza and Katie Schmidt from SIU; Erin Fisher and Allison Twarowski from Fordham; and Jamie Perkins from Wright State.

State hits the road for its next action, heading to Macon, Ga., for the Mercer Tournament Feb. 22-24. The Bulldogs open with Western Kentucky at 9 a.m. CST and Austin Peay at 3 p.m. on Friday.

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team took control of the match early and hung on for a 4-3 victory over 46th-ranked South Alabama Sunday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The Bulldogs captured their second straight victory and improved to 3-2 this season.

With only five players available, South Alabama was forced to default the #3 doubles match to start the match. Needing only one victory to claim the opening point, State's pair of Ivan Bjelica and Philippe Frayssinoux were the first off the courts as they claimed an 8-5 victory over South Alabama's eighth-ranked pair of Jack Baker and Marek Sramek to claim the doubles point. On court #2, State's pair of Pjotrs Necajevs and Tanner Stump could not hold onto an early lead, dropping an 8-5 decision to USA's pair of Robert Hodel and R.J. Nagel.

Without a sixth player, South Alabama defaulted at the #6 court which gave State a 2-0 lead heading into singles play. MSU took a 3-0 when Farlow breezed past Hodel 6-2, 6-1 at the #3 spot. Several moments later, State freshman Antonio Lastre clinched the match for the Bulldogs with a convincing 6-1, 6-2 victory over Jaguar Aaron Krisan on court 5.

All three of the remaining singles would be decided in a third-set supertiebreaker after the first two sets were split. South Alabama claimed their first match at the #4 spot where Nagel outlasted State's Necajevs 6-3, 4-6, 1-0(3). After storming to a 6-0 first set win, MSU's Bjelica dropped the second set 7-6(2) in the tiebreaker and fell 1-0(8) in the third set to USA's Sramek. On court #2, State's Philippe Frayssinoux won the first set 6-4 before falling in the second set in a tiebreaker to Baker. In the supertiebreaker, Frayssinoux led 8-6 when he fell with an injury and was limited the rest of the way. Baker would rally to claim the tiebreaker 11-9 and give South Alabama its third point.

"We got off to a good start today which helped us get the win over a good South Alabama team," said MSU head coach Per Nilsson. "We were a little sluggish toward the end but we just have to learn from that and keep getting better."

Sunday's win propelled the Bulldogs to a 3-0 home mark this season. State improved to 12-7 against South Alabama since 1970 which includes an 8-4 mark at home against USA in that span. Farlow improved to 4-1 in dual matches this spring with the win at the #3 spot while Lastre moved to 3-0 in dual matches. With the win over the nation's eighth-ranked doubles team, Bjelica and Frayssinoux move to 2-0 this season.

The Bulldogs will conclude their current non-conference homestand Saturday, Feb. 23 when they host Georgia State. Match time is slated for 1 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

Women's Golf
MIAMI LAKES, Fla. - The Mississippi State women's golf team posted a 317 and stand in 10th place after the first round at the Qdoba Invitational at the Don Shula Golf Club in Miami Lakes, Fla. The Lady Bulldogs stand just 10 shots out of fifth place heading into Monday's second round.

Leading the charge for MSU on Sunday was freshman Mallory Batson. The Gadsden, Ala., native carded a 76 and stands in a tie for 19th. Junior Jillian Jones fired a 78 and sits in a tie for 32nd while freshman Erika Thornton is in a tie for 40th after a round of 80. Julia Huh is tied for 53rd while sophomore Suzanne Stanley is in 65th.

East Carolina shot a 296 in the first round to grab the team lead heading into Monday. ECU is four strokes up on Louisville and Miami. Miami's Jessica Steward and Grace Thiry of Kansas lead the individual field by two strokes after shooting rounds of 71 on Sunday.

Monday's second round will begin with a shotgun start at 11:30 a.m. CT. Tuesday's final round will also be a shotgun start beginning at 7:30 a.m. CT.

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