STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team will continue its Southeastern Conference home slate Sunday, hosting 23rd-ranked Auburn at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on the MSU campus. Match time is set for 1 p.m.
The Bulldogs are coming off of a loss Friday to 21st-ranked Alabama. State stands at 4-5 overall this year and will be searching for their first conference win. Ranked 26th-nationally in the latest singles poll, senior Ivan Bjelica has won two straight dual matches for the Bulldogs.
Auburn enters Sunday's matchup with a 6-4 overall record including a 2-1 SEC mark. The Tigers are coming off a 4-1 loss to fifth-ranked Mississippi on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers are led by sophomore Alexey Tsyrenov who is 6-1 in dual matches this season and is 14-6 overall.
Following Sunday's match, State will travel west for a pair of road matches against UNLV on Wednesday, followed by a trip to Reno, Nev., to face Nevada Saturday, March 15.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State sophomore Chelsea Bramlett went 5-for-8 and scored three times, and Kelsey Nurnberg and Misty Flesher turned in solid pitching performances as the 18th-ranked Bulldogs defeated Austin Peay 3-1 and Charleston Southern 5-1 on Saturday at the Bulldog Classic at the MSU Softball Field.
Bramlett put together a 2-for-4 plate outing in the opener against the Lady Govs before closing the night out with three hits in four at-bats against CSU.
State moved to 20-4 on the year with the two victories. Flesher picked up her sixth win of the season as she allowed one run on four hits with six strikeouts against APSU. Nurnberg moved her record to 10-2 on the year as she limited Charleston Southern (9-15) to just one hit while striking out seven over the final four innings.
"We got great pitching from Misty in the first game, and Kelsey came in and shut Charleston Southern down in the second," MSU head coach Jay Miller said. "We picked up two good wins today, but I was a little disappointed in our offense in both games. We swung the bat really well yesterday, but we came out today and struggled throughout the lineup. We did a nice job of generating runs early, and our defense had another good day. We need to come out tomorrow and finish strong to get ready for the start of SEC play Tuesday."
Hayle Guess scored two of State's three runs in the day's opening game against APSU (2-6). Guess finished the game 2-for-4.
The Bulldogs struck early in both games, including a run in each of the first two frames against Austin Peay. Bramlett led off the game with a single up the middle. After stealing second, she moved to third on a Nakita Boyce ground-out and scored on Courtney Bures' ground ball that was misplayed by the Lady Gov shortstop.
The Bulldogs scored the leadoff batter for the second straight inning as Guess reached second base on an APSU error. Jessie Bailey moved her to third with a ground-out, and Gina McCloud put State up 2-0 with her RBI single into center field that scored Guess from third.
MSU added a third run in the sixth as Hayle Guess hit her team-best third triple of the season and scored as she slid in just before the tag at the plate on Jessie Bailey's ground ball to third.
In the nightcap, the Bulldogs scored five runs in the first two innings, and the pitching of Nurnberg and starter Elizabeth Woolven made the early offense hold up.
Bramlett led off with a base hit for the second straight game and stole second. Boyce followed with a walk, and Bures scored the two with her double to the wall in left field. Bures stole third and scored on Sammie Jo Bailey's base hit to center field to put MSU on top 3-0.
State plated the final two runs in the bottom of the second as Lindsay Hunley reached on an error and Bramlett singled. Both scored as Bures' fly ball to right field was misjudged and fell to the turf.
MSU's two-run second-inning burst chased Lady Buc starter Caitlin Allen. Allen, who fell to 0-3 on the year, gave up the five runs, only three of which were earned, on four hits with a walk in an inning and two-thirds. Jamie Wellons allowed a hit and struck out two over the final four and a third innings.
The Bulldogs close out the 2008 Bulldog Classic Sunday, hosting Louisiana Tech at 2 p.m. Charleston Southern and Austin Peay open the day's action at 10 a.m., while the Lady Bucs will take on Louisiana Tech in a game scheduled for a noon first pitch.