News from MSU Media Relations--March 28

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Softball, Football, Men's Tennis, Women's Tennis and Track & Field.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - The 21st-ranked Mississippi State softball team returns home from a six-game road trip this weekend, hosting Georgetown and Mississippi Valley State Saturday and Sunday in the 2008 Bully Bash. The two-day tournament is part of MSU's annual Super Bulldog Weekend festivities.

Georgetown and Mississippi Valley State kick off the two-day event at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Head coach Jay Miller's Bulldogs take the field against MVSU at 4 p.m. and Georgetown at 6 p.m. Sunday's action begins at 10 a.m., while State will face the Hoyas and MVSU at noon and 2 p.m., respectively. Admission to all MSU home softball games is free.

The Bulldogs return to the MSU Softball Field with a 26-11 overall record after dropping a pair of hard-fought decisions to No. 8 LSU Wednesday afternoon in Baton Rouge.

Senior Courtney Bures continued her hot hitting against the Tigers Wednesday night, collecting four hits in six at-bats with a run scored to improve her hit streak to a season-long nine games. The Haymarket, Va., native has jumped her average to .393 on the season, and she leads the team with nine doubles while ranking second in home runs (3) and RBI (21). She has also scored 24 times, which is third best on the club. Through 11 SEC games, Bures is hitting .469 with four doubles, a triple, a home run, three RBI and seven runs.

Since becoming a regular in the line-up during SEC play, freshman Courtney Nesbit has been swinging a hot bat. The Acworth, Ga., native continued her torrid pace Wednesday, going 5-for-6 with a run scored in the two games against LSU. Nesbit, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, is hitting .421 on the year with two doubles, six RBI and four runs scored. In six SEC outings, Nesbit is hitting at a .625 clip (10-for-16) with a double, two RBI and a run.

Sophomore Chelsea Bramlett continues to hit over .400 on the season. The starter behind the plate in all 37 games this season, Bramlett is hitting at a .411 clip (53-for-129) with two doubles, a team second-best three triples, a home run, 17 RBI and 30 runs scored. Bramlett currently ranks sixth nationally with 28 stolen bases in 29 attempts on the year.

Junior Kelsey Nurnberg has compiled a team-high 13-5 record in the circle this season for a Bulldog pitching staff that has issued the fewest walks in the league. Nurnberg holds a 1.86 ERA, giving up 47 runs, 33 earned, with 65 strikeouts and 106 hits in a team-leading 124 innings.

Freshmen Misty Flesher and Elizabeth Woolven have also pitched well for the Bulldogs this season. Flesher, a native of Lone Grove, Okla., sits at 10-6 on the year, giving up 28 earned runs and 74 hits while striking out 62 compared to just 14 walks over 85 and a third innings. A Nettleton, Miss., product, Woolven improved her earned-run average to 1.30 after holding LSU to three hits over the final three innings of the opening game of Wednesday's doubleheader. Woolven sits at 3-0 on the year, while her four saves tie her for the league lead and second nationally.

Georgetown enters the weekend with a 15-23 record. The Bulldogs and Hoyas will be meeting for the first time in school history, but MSU will meet a familiar foe in the Delta Devilettes.

MSU and Valley will be facing off for the 11th and 12th times since 2003, with the Bulldogs holding a 9-1 lead in the series after opening the 2008 home slate with a 10-0 win. State and Valley will meet for the fourth time this season on Tuesday as the Bulldogs travel to Itta Bena.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - For the third-consecutive year, Mississippi State's spring football game will be televised. Regional television station CSS will broadcast the game on a tape-delay basis, with the first airing set for Sunday, March 30, at 11:30 a.m. CT.

Steve Ellis and Matt Wyatt will call the action, and head coach Sylvester Croom will join the pair in the broadcast booth. The game will also air on Tuesday, April 1, at 2:30 p.m. CT. An "enhanced" version, featuring interviews and behind the scenes footage will debut on April 10, at 8 p.m. CT.

On the practice fields, Croom's troops put in 90 minutes of work as the team focused on special teams and game situations. The final 30 minutes of the practice session, after the team was separated into Maroon and White teams, focused on trick plays that could be used on Saturday.

The spring football game will begin at 12 noon on Saturday, and general admission seating will be available for $5.

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team will continue its Southeastern Conference schedule this weekend, traveling to Lexington, Ky., Friday to take on Kentucky, followed by a trip to Nashville, Tenn., Sunday to battle Vanderbilt. Friday's match is set for a 4 p.m. CT start while play Sunday will get underway at 1 p.m. CT.

Having won four of their last five matches, the Bulldogs enter the weekend ranked 38th-nationally. State owns an 8-6 overall record including a 2-4 mark in league play. Seniors Ivan Bjelica and Philippe Frayssinoux are ranked 37th and 50th respectively in the singles rankings. Bjelica, the reigning SEC Player of the Week, has won three straight matches at the #1 position and has upped his SEC mark to 4-1. Frayssinoux is a winner of five straight in singles and has notched a team-high 21 wins this season. Bjelica and Frayssinoux have also paired at the #1 doubles spot for MSU, going 7-2 in dual matches this spring and currently own a four match win streak.

Kentucky comes into the weekend ranked 50th as a team. The Wildcats are 8-9 this season and are 2-4 in SEC competition. UK is led by 48th-ranked junior Bruno Agostinelli who is 15-10 overall this season in singles play. The two programs have met 38 times in the past with UK holding a slight 20-18 advantage. Last season in Starkville, MSU downed Kentucky 4-1.

Ranked 35th in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association's poll, Vanderbilt enters the weekend with a 10-5 record overall, 2-4 in the SEC. The Commodores are led by 75th-ranked senior Ryan Preston and 101st-ranked Vijay Paul. Preston is 13-10 overall this season while Paul is 19-10. In the all-time series with VU, State owns a commanding 31-8 lead. The Bulldogs defeated the Commodores twice last season which included a first round win in the SEC Championship.

"This is a very important weekend for our team," said MSU head coach Per Nilsson. "We are playing two very good teams and we must be able to give great effort and play very solid to have a chance to win either match."

Following this weekend's action, MSU will return home to face LSU on April 4 and Arkansas on April 6.

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's Lady Bulldog tennis team will host Southeastern Conference opponents No. 23 Kentucky and No. 11 Vanderbilt this weekend during Super Bulldog Weekend festivities. The match with the Wildcats of UK will be Friday, March 28, and is set to begin at 2 p.m. CT while Sunday's matchup with the Commodores is slated for 1 p.m. CT. Both matches will be contested at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on campus.

The Lady Bulldogs (7-7, 0-6 SEC) come into Super Bulldog Weekend ranked 63rd in the nation. During last weekend's competition, State fell to No. 33 South Carolina 6-1 on Friday, and dropped a 7-0 to 4th-ranked Florida at home on Easter Sunday.

The match versus Kentucky (12-5, 3-3 SEC) will serve as the 34th meeting between the two schools. Kentucky holds a 29-4 record all-time against State and an 11-2 record in matches being played in Starkville. The Lady Bulldogs fell 6-1 to Kentucky last season in Lexington.

Sunday's meeting with Vanderbilt (13-3, 3-3 SEC) will be the 28th all-time between the two programs. Vanderbilt holds a 20-7 record against MSU while posting an 8-3 record in matches held in Starkville. In their last meeting last season in Nashville, State was defeated 6-1 at Vanderbilt.

Following this weekend's action, the Lady Bulldogs will head back out on the road to face 27th-ranked Louisiana State on Friday, Apr. 4, at 3 p.m. CT. They continue on to 13th-ranked Arkansas on Sunday, Apr. 6, to play at 12 p.m. CT.

Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Seniors Golden Coachman and Chris Woods, junior Marrissa Harris and the 4x400-meter relay team highlight the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association 2008 Outdoor Preseason rankings as released by the organization earlier this week.

Coachman, this week's SEC Runner of the Week, is ranked fourth in the 800-meter run for his time of one minute, 47.40 that he carded at the 2007 SEC Track and Field Championships. The mark earned the Birmingham-native a spot in the 2007 Mideast Regional, where he moved on to compete in the NCAA Championships. Coachman placed fourth at the NCAA Championships and garnered all-American status in his first year of competing for the Bulldogs.

Woods is ranked 13th in the 800-meter run, as well, for his personal-best 1:48.15 that he ran at the 2007 Mideast Regional. The time tallied the Atlanta-native a fifth-place finish in the event. The all-American also advanced to the NCAA Championships, where he posted a top 25-finish in the 800-meter run.

Memphis-native and recently named indoor all-American Marrissa Harris earned a 17th place ranking in the heptathlon after her showing at the 2007 SEC Track and Field Championships. Harris secured a personal-best 5,242 points in the event to take fourth place.

In addition to the individuals, the 4x400-meter relay team carries a fourth-place ranking in the relay division. The squad is ranked for their 3:03.49 time acquired at the NCAA Championships. The senior-laden entourage of Bruce Davis, Nathan Daniels, Arthur Davis and Ezra Jones took home fourth-place en route to earning all-American honors for their performance in the competition.

Harris will be in action at the Alabama Relays in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Thursday and Friday, March 27-28, while Coachman and Woods are set to participate in the Bulldog Invitational on Saturday, March 29 on the MSU campus.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Mississippi State junior Darryl Brady scored 3,654 points on the opening day of the Alabama Relays decathlon and leads the field following five events. The event is being held at the Sam Bailey Track & Field Complex in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on the campus of the University of Alabama.

The Vancleave-native opened the competition, running the 100-meter dash in a personal-best 11.27 seconds to finish fourth in the event. Brady jumped a season-best 21 feet, six inches in the long jump to take second. Brady also threw a personal-best 37-00 ¼ in the shot put, finishing third. He also finished first in the high jump, posting a personal-best mark of 6-08 ¾. Brady completed his day by placing sixth in the 400-meter dash with a season-best time of 51.86.

Senior Joseph Queen stands in fifth place with a total of 3,356 points. Queen tied his personal-best mark in the 100-meter dash, finishing in 11.44 to capture fifth place. The Jackson-native's best finish of the day came in the shot put, where he launched a personal-best 40-07 ¾ to take second place. Queen wrapped up his day with a third place finish in the 400-meter run, where he ran a season-best 50.86.

Sophomore LaQuinta Aaron and junior Dorothy Youmans are in second and third place, respectively in the heptathlon. Junior Marrissa Harris won the 100-meter hurdles part of the events, running a season-best and regional qualifying time of 13.81. Aaron came in second and Youmans came in fourth place in the 100-meter hurdles.

Aaron, a Tuscaloosa-native, also notched a personal-best mark in the high jump, while Youmans was in a three-way tie for first place with her jump of 5-06 ½ . Both Aaron and Youmans established new personal-bests in the shot put with their throws of 37-00 ¼ and 34-11 ¾, respectively. Aaron closed out her first day, running a 25.38 in the 200-meter dash to nab third place. Youmans winded down her day, nailing a personal-best in the 200-meter dash.

"We had a solid first day," said assistant track and field coach Bryan Fetzer. "Darryl (Brady) had a good first day. Dorothy (Youmans) had a very good first day, as well. She recorded several new personal-records. They are where I want them to be. The first combined events meet itself is a teaching tool for later in the year and you learn from it."

Combined events action continues tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. with the decathlon 110-meter hurdles. The women will kick off day two with the long jump at 10:00 a.m.

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