OXFORD, Miss. - Hayle Guess went 4-for-4 at the plate and accounted for five Mississippi State runs as the 21st-ranked Bulldogs claimed an 8-3 win over in-state rival Mississippi and completed three-game Southeastern Conference series sweep at the Ole Miss Softball Complex in Oxford, Miss.
State swept the Rebels for the first time since 2004 to improve to 26-9 overall and 4-5 in league play. The Rebels fall to 15-15 on the year, 0-9 in SEC action.
Guess, a senior from Moss Point, drove in three runs and scored twice, Courtney Nesbit also collected a pair of hits in MSU's 11-hit attack. The freshman from Acworth, Ga., drove in two of the Bulldogs' eight runs.
Just as in Friday's second game, UM struck with a pair of runs in the first inning, but this time State answered by tying the game with two runs in the top of the second.
Sammie Jo Bailey led off with a ground ball to short and was able to beat the throw. Bailey moved to second on a wild pitch, and after stealing third, Guess scored her with a ground ball that UM shortstop Ashley Dowdy just managed to grab. With two away in the frame, Nesbit drove in the tying run as she took a two-strike offering to right field to score Guess.
"It was a good win. I didn't like giving up those two early runs, but we did a nice job of coming back and answering with two to tie, and Misty (Flesher) shut them down the rest of the way," State head coach Jay Miller said. "It's always tough to win on the road in the SEC, especially to sweep on the road in the conference. We started swinging the bats more consistently, and the bottom of the order won the game by generating some runs for us. Today's game was a big step for our team."
Flesher allowed the Bulldogs the opportunity to rally and claim the series sweep as she pitched the final six innings in relief and allowed a run on five hits with three strikeouts to move to 10-5 on the season. Becky Nye (6-6) suffered the defeat as she went the distance and gave up the eight runs, five earned, on 11 hits with nine strikeouts.
Mississippi had a chance to re-gain the lead in the top of the third as Lauren Grill led off with a single and moved to second on a single by Amber Tramp. After both moved into scoring position on Lisa Conchos' sacrifice bunt, Flesher got Aly Presswood to line-out to Ali Bainbridge to end the threat.
State took its first lead in the fourth inning as Jessie Bailey delivered a high chopper with one out over Grill's head at third base. She scored as she avoided the tag at the plate following a Guess line drive that tipped off the glove of a diving Conchos at second base.
The Bulldogs took advantage of a couple of Rebel miscues to break the game open in the top of the sixth inning. With one out, Sammie Jo Bailey collected her second base hit of the game. Jessie Bailey followed with a ground ball to short which Dowdy threw over the head of the UM first baseman. Sammie Jo Bailey advanced to third, and with the catcher Tramp backing up first base, she was able to score to extend the MSU lead to 4-2.
Guess followed with a line drive double that bounced past a diving Lauren Rowe in left field and scored Jessie Bailey to put State on top 5-2. Nesbit extended the lead to 6-2 with her second run-scoring hit of the afternoon, a single up the middle.
MSU continued its offensive explosion in the top half of the seventh as Chelsea Bramlett led off with a single and stole second. She moved to third on a Bainbridge fly ball to the warning track in left-center, and Bures scored her as she extended her hit streak to seven games with a triple to the wall in right-center. The Bulldogs put the lead to 8-3 as Sammie Jo Bailey hit a ground ball to short that scored Bures as Dowdy misplayed it.
The Bulldogs continue in SEC play Wednesday, traveling to Baton Rouge to take on 10th-ranked LSU in a doubleheader that is set for a 4 p.m. start. Both games of the two-game mid-week set will be broadcast live on WMSV 91.1 and online at www.wmsv.msstate.edu.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's Lady Bulldog tennis team hosts fourth-ranked Florida on Easter Sunday, March 23. The match with the Gators is slated for a 1 p.m. CT start.
MSU enters Sunday's action with a 7-6 overall record. MSU dropped Friday's match up with the Gamecocks of South Carolina 6-1. MSU's Elna de Villiers claimed the lone point for the Bulldogs with her seventh straight singles victory.
The match on Sunday will mark the 27th meeting between State and Florida. The Gators are currently undefeated against the Lady Bulldogs all-time holding a 26-0 record. Florida is 10-1 in 2008 with their only loss coming against ninth-ranked Duke. They are 4-0 in league play. The Gators are the second top-5 team the Lady Bulldogs have played host to this season (#2 Georgia).
Following this weekend's action, the Lady Bulldogs will remain at home to host 23rd-ranked Kentucky on Friday, March 28, at 2 p.m. CT and 11th-ranked Vanderbilt on Sunday, March 30, at 1 p.m. Both home matches will be part of 2008 Super Bulldog Weekend festivities.
Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State track and field squads dominated the competition at the 12th annual Jace Lacoste Invitational on Saturday, March 22 at the W.O. Spencer Stadium/Carl Maddox Track on the MSU campus. Both teams captured the team title.
"We did well today," said MSU Head Coach Al Schmidt. "Two high points were Golden Coachman (800-meter run) and Emanuel Mayers (400-meter hurdles) getting regional qualifying marks. Ed Wesela's throws were great personal-records. As a whole, we fought well. Ben Blakenship's 3K was also great.
"Bridgett Rose also had a good day. Simone Domingue is a tough runner. UAB is a good team. They are one of the best in Conference USA. When you host a meet, you are supposed to win it."
Coachman, the MSU 800-meter record holder, monopolized the 800 field, taking first place with his meet-record time of one minute, 49.19 seconds. Mayers grabbed his regional qualifying mark with his personal-best, first-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles (52.05). In men's distance events, Blakenship took over the 3000-meter run, finishing in first in a personal-best 8:31.74. Wesela picked up two new personal-best marks in the shot put (53 feet, three inches) and discus (150-00), where he finished first in both events.
The Bulldogs controlled the men's side with the 98.50 points to take the title. Tennessee State followed up in second with 45 points. Wallace State took third place with 44 points. Arkansas-Pine Bluff rounded out the scoring with 5.50 points.
In women's action, in the windy 100-meter dash, Rose gathered the individual crown with a personal-best time of 11.83. Rose also finished a close second in the 200-meter dash, crossing the line in 24.35. She collected her second regional qualifying mark of the season with her 13.80 finish in the 100-meter hurdles, where she also took first place.
Domingue wrapped up a second place finish in the 1500-meter run, completing the race in 4:47.73. Also competing in the 3000-meter run, Domingue ran a season-best 10:08.06 to notched first-place honors in the event.
The Lady Bulldogs also commanded the meet, grabbing the team title with 93 points. UAB finished second with 42 points and Vanderbilt rounded out the scoring with 10 points.
Both squads return to W.O. Spencer Stadium/Carl Maddox Track to host the Bulldog Invitational on Saturday, March 29, beginning at 9 a.m. The high school meet takes place on Friday, March, 28, with action starting at noon from the MSU campus. Admission is free to both meets.
More information on the Bulldog Invitational can be found at www.mstateathletics.com under the track and field section.