COLUMBUS, Ga. - Chelsea Bramlett's two-run single with two outs in the top of the seventh inning rallied the 18th-ranked Mississippi State softball team to a 3-2 win over UMass on Sunday at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga.
The win at the South Commons Complex moved MSU to 16-4 on the year, while UMass fell to 6-9 overall.
Bramlett's game-winning base hit capped a 3-for-4, two-RBI day for the sophomore from Cordova, Tenn. Elizabeth Woolven moved to 3-0 with four and a third solid innings of relief work. The Nettleton, Miss., native picked up her second win of the weekend as she limited the Minutewomen to five hits while striking out five and walking one.
"We had a great team effort today," MSU head coach Jay Miller, who picked up career win No. 900 on Saturday, said. "Elizabeth Woolven did an outstanding job in relief after Misty (Flesher) struggled. Elizabeth shut them down and gave us an opportunity to come back. Our team did a nice job of battling and fighting. The bottom part of the order gave us some big hits in that last inning, and Chelsea came up big once again. This win will help us down the road because UMass is a very good team that makes a regional every year."
Junior Kelsey Nurnberg recorded the final two outs of the seventh to pick up her second save of the season.
Brandice Balschmiter held State to three hits over the first six frames, but suffered the loss to fall to 4-5 after giving up the three seventh-inning runs and allowing seven hits with seven strikeouts.
With one out in the top of the seventh, freshman Ali Bainbridge kicked off the rally with a double down the line in right field. Senior Hayle Guess scored Bainbridge with a single to right field to make it 2-1. After taking second on the throw, Guess moved to third on a fielding error by UMass catcher Jessica Serio.
Courtney Nesbit hit a ground ball to first base, but Guess was thrown out in a very close play at the plate to keep the Minutewomen on top 2-1. The Bulldogs wouldn't be deterred, however, as Jessie Bailey moved Nesbit to second with a single into left field. After pinch-hitter Jessie Spain walked to load the bases, Bramlett lined a single into left to score pinch-runner Megan Bateman and Bailey.
UMass tried one last rally in the home half of the seventh as leadoff hitter Carly Normandin drew a one-out walk, and Stacy Cullington moved her to third with a double to the fence in center field. Nurnberg replaced Woolven, and Samantha Salato, the first hitter she faced, lined a shot back to her which she then threw to third to retire Normandin and clinch the State victory.
The Bulldogs return home Tuesday, taking on UAB in a non-conference match-up set for a 6 p.m. first pitch at the MSU Softball Field. State hosts the Bulldog Classic on the Mississippi State campus this weekend, welcoming Charleston Southern, Louisiana Tech and Austin Peay for the three-day tournament which begins Friday.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's women's tennis team fell to #23 Tennessee 5-2 on Sunday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The Lady Bulldogs dropped to 5-3 overall with the loss and 0-2 in league play. Tennessee improved to 8-2, 2-0.
MSU started the match well, grabbing the doubles point in dramatic fashion. On court No. 3, the State duo of Daniela Juskova and Valeriya Makarycheva fell to the Tennessee duo of Connor Vogel and Jennifer Meredith 8-3. Then, on court No. 2, MSU's Radka Ferancova and Renee Joseph defeated Ghizela Schutte and Rosalia Alda 8-6. On the decisive court No. 1, Mississippi State would pull out a 8-6 victory and grab the doubles point when Martina Banikova and Elna de Villiers upset the nation's second-ranked doubles team of Caitlin Whorskey and Zsofia Zubor.
In singles play, Tennessee took a 3-1 match lead with three straight-set victories in the first three matches completed. On court No. 4, Vogel defeated Juskova 6-3, 6-3 and Alda posted a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Makarycheva at the No. 6 position. On court No. 2, Joseph fell to #90 Zubor 6-1, 6-4. State would then trim the lead to 3-2 with de Villiers defeating Vogel 6-0, 7-5 at the No. 5 spot.
UT then secured the final two matches on court, both close decisions, to claim the team victory. The match-clincher would come at the No. 3 position where Ferancova was outlasted by Samantha Orlin in three sets 0-6, 6-4, 6-2. In the last singles match, UT's Schutte claimed victory over Banikova 6-3, 7-5 at No. 1 to give the Volunteers the 5-2 team victory.
"We played them very tough," said head coach Tracy Lane. "They found our weakness and exploited them. The positive thing is that we really felt like we could win this match. That attitude is the key to success in this league."
Mississippi State will see its first road action of 2008 next weekend when they travel to Alabama on Friday, March 7, to play at 3 p.m. CT. They continue on to Auburn to face the Tigers on Sunday, March 9 at 1 p.m.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Mississippi State's men's tennis team dropped a 5-2 decision to 14th-ranked Tennessee Sunday afternoon at UT's Varsity Tennis Courts. State fell to 4-4 this season with the loss while UT improved to 11-1.
Tennessee grabbed the lead early, taking two of the three doubles matches. The first complete came on court #2 as UT's 35th-ranked team of Boris Conkic and Davey Sandgren downed Bulldogs Ryan Farlow and Pjotrs Necajevs 8-1. The Volunteers clinched the point when the 17th-ranked team of Kaden Hensel and J.P. Smith topped State's 59th-ranked duo of Ivan Bjelica and Philippe Frayssinoux 8-2 on court #1. MSU's tandem of Chris Doerr and Tanner Stump gave the Bulldogs a victory on court three as they outlasted Vols Matteo Fago and Jeremy Tweedt 8-7.
UT would quickly extend its lead to 2-0 in singles play when MSU's Maximilien Genuini was forced to retire due to an injury, down 4-2 against UT's Tweedt on court #6. Tennessee went up 3-0 as 20th-ranked Smith downed State's 42nd-ranked Frayssinoux 6-2, 6-2 on court #2. The clinching point for Tennessee came when Vol Fago topped MSU freshman Antonio Lastre 6-1, 6-3 on court five. The Vols claimed their fifth point when Conkic downed Bulldog Farlow 6-2, 6-1 on court #3. Doerr gave State its first point as he rallied to win a 6-7, 6-3, 1-0 match against UT's Sandgren at the #4 position. In the final match, State senior Bjelica, ranked 45th-nationally, held on to defeat 74th-ranked Kaden Hensel 6-3, 7-6 on court one.
"I thought we had a better overall performance today than we did on Friday against Georgia," said MSU head coach Per Nilsson. "Our entire team is banged up right now but they are fighting and are working on their game."
With the loss, State now trails UT 29-12 in the overall series. With a win on court #1, Bjelica improves to 9-3 this season and 5-2 in dual matches. Doerr improved to 2-1 in dual match play with his win Sunday.
State will open its conference home schedule Friday, March 7 as they host Alabama at 2 p.m., followed by a matchup with Auburn on Sunday, March 9 at 1 p.m. Both matches will be played at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on the MSU campus.
Track & Field
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Three Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs set new personal- records on the final day of the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships being held on the campus of University of Arkansas at the Randal Tyson Indoor Track Facility in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
In the weight throw, sophomore LaTisha Rodgers (43-08) bested her personal-mark previously set at the Rod McCravy Invitational. Freshmen Simone Dominigue and Sarah Hammes, both appearing in their first SEC Indoor Championship, improved on their previous career-best marks, finishing in the top 20 of the 5000-meter run. Dominigue finished 13th with her time of 17 minutes, 22.42 seconds.
After notching three NCAA provisional marks (60-meter hurdles, pentathlon and long jump) on the first two days, junior Marrissa Harris (five feet, five and three-fourths), competed in the high jump with fellow junior Dorothy Youmans (5-05 ¾) and both finished in the top 10 of the event.
The 4x400-meter relay tandum of sophomore LaQuinta Aaron, junior Priscilla Gaines, sophomore Gabrielle Dillon and senior Angelica Phillips finished in 3:49.49, rounding out the competition.
As a team, MSU finished 11th with 12 points. LSU beat out the rest of the conference to claim the conference title with their 133 points. Tennessee came in second place with 116 points. Arkansas finished third with 93 points, while Florida (90) and Kentucky (57) rounded out the top five places. Mississippi tallied 49 points with Alabama registering 43 points and Auburn with 27 to finish in places sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. South Carolina (20.5) and Georgia (14.5) finished in ninth and 10th to round out the top 10. MState finished ahead of Vanderbilt, who finished in 12th with their eight points.
The SEC Championships conclude the indoor season for the Maroon and White. Harris will continue her season, representing MSU in at the NCAA Indoor Championships on Mar. 14-15 in Fayetteville, Ark.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The 23rd-ranked Mississippi State men's golf team is in 10th place through the first round at the Seminole Intercollegiate in Tallahassee, Fla. The Bulldogs fired a 6-over-par, 294 in 18 holes of play at the par-72 Golden Eagle Country Club.
"We missed some close shots today and struggled putting consistently," said Coach Clay Homan. "We just need to find a way to bring our scores lower and be more consistent with our rounds."
Junior Noah Goldman led the way for MState carding a 1-under-par 71 in round one and sits in a tie for ninth place. The Longwood, Fla.-native only had one hole above par , with a bogey on hole 16 but countered with two birdies. Junior Carlos Sainz, Jr. is in a tie for 18th, finishing with an even par round after 18 holes of play which included three birdies, two of which came on the back nine. Junior Josh Bevell notched a 3-over-par 75 in round one, including a 1-under-par back nine showing. Senior Josh Oller is 4-over-par through round one followed by fellow Bulldog Jake Lambert who shot a 79 in round one, which included three birdies over the final five holes of the round.
"Noah (Goldman) had a solid first round and is amongst the top 10 individuals and was very consistent today," said Homan. "Carlos (Sainz, Jr.) showed consistency too and really helped us out with his play today, while Josh Bevell came through for us on the back nine."
In-state rival Mississippi and host-school Florida State are in a tie for first place at 3-under-par, followed by SEC-foe Auburn and Virginia both tied for third at 2-under-par. North Carolina stands alone in fifth place with a 2-over-par 290, followed by a three-way tie for sixth which include Louisville, UAB and Maryland at 3-over-par. SEC-foe LSU is in ninth place and holds onto a one-stroke lead over MSU. The College of Charleston and Vanderbilt close out the field respectively scoring 298 and 300 through round one.
"We are only nine shots from the leader and just four shots away from the top five," said Homan. "Hopefully tomorrow we can step up and hit some shots after getting a feel for the course in round one."
Play will resume tomorrow morning at 7:55 a.m. EST. The Format has been changed as rounds two and three will be played tomorrow with hazardous weather predicted for the area on Tuesday. Live stats will be available at www.GolfStat.com.