STARKVILLE, Miss. - The 15th-ranked Mississippi State softball team opens its home Southeastern Conference slate this weekend, hosting No. 2 Alabama in a three-game set beginning Saturday at the MSU Softball Field on the State campus.
The two teams open the three-game set Saturday with a doubleheader that is slated for a 1 p.m. first pitch. The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide close their 12th series meeting Sunday at 1 p.m. Admission to all MSU home games is free of charge. Saturday's opening game, along with Sunday's series finale, will be broadcast live on WMSV 91.1 and online at www.wmsv.msstate.edu.
MState enters the weekend with a 22-6 mark and a 1-2 conference slate after dropping the final two games of a mid-week series at Auburn. The Bulldogs got a Jessie Bailey home run in the series opener en route to an 8-3 victory, but Auburn rallied from a 4-0 deficit to win game two on a walk-off home run in the ninth inning. AU rode the momentum of that victory to claim Wednesday's rubber game.
Alabama comes to Starkville 21-3 on the year and 3-2 in SEC play. The Crimson Tide split a mid-week doubleheader with fourth-ranked Florida on Wednesday, winning the opener 1-0 before dropping the nightcap 8-4.
Sophomore Chelsea Bramlett continues to pace MSU at the plate. The Cordova, Tenn., native hit .400 with three stolen bases and two runs to bump her season average to .459. Bramlett has a double, three triples, one home run, 17 RBI and 25 runs scored on the year. She is also a perfect 26-for-26 in stolen bases, which ranks second in the conference behind Bama's Brittany Rogers.
Freshman Ali Bainbridge of Vestavia Hills, Ala., had a stellar showing in her first SEC series, hitting .400 (4-for-10) with a double, three RBI and two runs against the Tigers. Bainbridge leaped her average to .333 on the season with four doubles, a home run, 12 RBI and 16 runs scored.
Senior Courtney Bures went 3-for-8 (.375) at the plate during the Auburn series to improve to .341 on the year. Bures has hit a team second-best three home runs, driven in 17 runs and scored 18 more.
Freshman Misty Flesher picked up State's win against AU, tossing six and a third innings and allowing three runs on nine hits with four strikeouts. The Lone Grove, Okla., sits at 7-3 on the season with a 1.95 ERA, 46 strikeouts and just seven walks. Junior Kelsey Nurnberg has a 12-2 mark and 1.75 ERA in the circle this season for MSU. The Ankeny, Iowa, native allowed a run on five hits with four strikeouts over five and one-third innings in the second game against Auburn.
Lauren Parker, who has played in 19 games this season, leads the Crimson Tide with a .524 average, six home runs and 25 RBI. Rogers is hitting .513 with 38 runs scored and 30 stolen bases. Charlotte Morgan and Chrissy Owens have combined for an 11-0 mark in the circle, while Kelsi Dunne is 9-3 on the year with a 1.49 ERA.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State women's golf team will continue its 2008 spring schedule this weekend (March 14-16), playing at the LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic. Held at the par 72, 6,424-yard University Club in Baton Rouge, La., the tournament features a field of 17 teams.
The Lady Bulldog lineup features senior Julia Huh, junior Jillian Jones, sophomore Suzanne Stanley along with freshmen Mallory Batson and Erika Thornton. Batson currently leads the Lady Bulldogs with a 76.73 stroke average. The Gadsden, Ala., native is coming off a ninth-place finish at the Qdoba Invitational to open the spring. Huh and Thornton are second on the team, averaging a 77.00 this season. Huh will be playing in her 32nd career tournament and is one round shy of ninth on the list of most career rounds played by a Lady Bulldog. Stanley will be making her sixth-straight appearance of the season this weekend while Jones will be playing in her second straight.
"The team has been working very hard to improve on areas I feel like are keeping us from performing as well as we are capable of which is short game and putting," said MSU head coach Christi Sanders. "During the practice round we will give a lot of attention to good landing areas off the tees and practice a great deal around the greens trying to get a good feel for the speed. "
The field, which includes seven SEC teams, includes seven squads that are ranked in the nation's top-30 in the latest Golfstat poll. State will join conference teams LSU, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and South Carolina. Non-conference teams include Augusta State, College of Charleston, Florida State, Louisville, North Carolina, North Carolina State, North Carolina-Wilmington, Central Florida, Virginia and Wake Forest.
"This tournament always produces a good field and good scores so we know that we will have to get off to a good start on Friday to give us confidence going into the weekends final two rounds," said Sanders.
First round action will begin Friday with an 8 a.m. CT tee off. Saturday's round two will also begin at 8 a.m. CT while Sunday's action will begin at 8:30 a.m. CT.