HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Courtney Bures, Hayle Guess and Courtney Nesbit each collected a pair of hits, and Misty Flesher tossed a four-hit shutout as the 21st-ranked Mississippi State softball team blanked Southern Mississippi 9-0 in five innings Tuesday evening at the Southern Miss Softball Complex in Hattiesburg.
Bures drove in two of State's runs on the night, while Guess and Nesbit each collected three RBI as the Bulldogs improved to 23-9 on the season. USM fell to 14-15 with the loss.
Flesher allowed four hits with two walks and a pair of strikeouts in the complete-game effort. The Lone Grove, Okla., native improved to 8-5 on the year.
State jumped on top with four first-inning runs off Golden Eagle starter Shea Naramore (1-2). With one out in the inning, freshman Ali Bainbridge walked and moved to third on Bures' single up the middle. Bainbridge scored as Sammie Jo Bailey hit a hard ground ball that went off the glove of USM shortstop Kristin Chaney.
After Bures was put-out at home on a Jessie Bailey fielder's choice, Guess delivered a two-out single to center field that plated Sammie Jo Bailey for a 2-0 State lead. Guess and Jessie Bailey advanced on a wild pitch, and Nesbit sealed the four-run frame with her single to center.
"I thought we did a nice job coming out in the first inning and putting some runs on the scoreboard," State head coach Jay Miller said. "I was glad to see us finish it up in five innings. We hit the ball well throughout the line-up. Courtney Nesbit had a couple of big hits for us, and we were able to give some players some much-needed rest. Misty (Flesher) pitched a good game, and I feel good to see where we are heading into this weekend against Mississippi."
MSU added the final five runs in the top of the fifth as Nakita Boyce walked and Chelsea Bramlett singled to lead-off the frame. Following a Bainbridge sacrifice bunt, the pair scored on Bures' base hit up the middle.
Guess continued the inning as she delivered a two-out triple, her fourth of the season, that scored Bures and McCloud, who walked. Nesbit concluded her hot night at the plate with a double off the wall in left-center that scored Guess for the final 9-0 score.
The Bulldogs return to Southeastern Conference action Friday, traveling to Oxford to take on in-state rival Mississippi in a three-game series. The Bulldogs and Rebels open the series with a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday. The two teams close out the set Saturday with a 1 p.m. contest that will be televised by Fox Sports South.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Tanner Stump of the Mississippi State men's tennis team has been named the Southeastern Conference Men's Tennis Freshman of the Week announced by the conference office in Birmingham on Tuesday. Stump becomes the first Bulldog netman to claim the honor since its inception this season.
A native of Bradenton, Fla., Stump captured two victories this past week, helping MSU win a pair of matches over UNLV and Nevada. Stump and sophomore Chris Doerr captured a doubles victory on court #3 against UNLV, helping the Bulldogs claim a critical doubles point in a 4-3 win over the Rebels. Against Nevada three days later, Stump moved into the #5 spot in the singles lineup where he claimed a victory and contributed to a 6-0 Bulldog win.
Stump is 2-0 in singles dual matches this spring and sports a 3-1 overall record. He also has a 4-1 record with Doerr at #3 doubles as the duo has won three straight.
The 47th-ranked Bulldog netters will be back in action this Friday as they return home to host South Carolina. Match time is set for 2 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.