News from MSU Media Relations--March 30

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

STARKVILLE, Miss. - The 21st-ranked Mississippi State softball team got a pair of super efforts on Super Bulldog Weekend, claiming 10-1 and 8-0 victories over Mississippi Valley State and Georgetown, respectively, during the opening day of the 2008 Bully Bash at the MSU Softball Field.

The two five-inning victories move the Bulldogs to 28-11 overall. State closes the two-day event Sunday, taking on Georgetown at noon and MVSU at 2 p.m.

Freshmen Misty Flesher and Elizabeth Woolven each picked up victories in the two games, and they received plenty of offensive support from an offense that scored in all but two of the 10 innings.

"We swung the bats really well today," MSU head coach Jay Miller said. "Misty (Flesher) and Elizabeth (Woolven) both pitched really well for us. These were two really good wins today, and getting both by run-rule was nice. I thought we had good at-bats all through the line-up. We adjusted the line-up some to try and generate more offense, and it really worked for us today. We need to come out tomorrow and continue to swing the bats the way we did today."

Flesher picked up the victory in game one to move to 11-6 on the year. The Lone Grove, Okla., native allowed an unearned run on four hits while matching a season high with nine strikeouts in the complete-game effort. Woolven allowed two hits, struck out three and walked one as she improved to 4-0 on the year with the full five-inning effort.

Another freshman, Ali Bainbridge, paced the Dogs at the plate, collecting three hits in five at-bats while accounting for five of State's 16 runs in the contest. Sophomore Jessie Bailey went 2-for-3 with two doubles, three RBI and a run scored in the opener with the Delta Devilettes (14-20), and Courtney Bures added a perfect 3-for-3 outing and plated half of MSU's runs in the opener.

Chelsea Bramlett put State up 1-0 in the first inning of the opening game, drawing a one-out walk, stealing second and scoring as the throw to second skipped into center field. The Bulldogs expanded the lead the next frame, plating five to grasp a 6-0 advantage.

Jessie Spain led off the inning and reached on an error. She scored as Jessie Bailey doubled to left center. After moving to third on a ground-out, Bailey scored on Nakita Boyce's ground ball that was misplayed by the MVSU second baseman. MSU put runners at first and second on Bramlett's infield single, and Bures scored her and Boyce with a base hit through the middle of the infield. A Sammie Jo Bailey single to short moved Bures to third, and she scored the inning's final run as she slid into the plate just before the throw on Courtney Nesbit's fielder's choice.

Bures drove in two more runs as she hit a two-out double in the third that scored Bramlett, who reached on an error, and Bainbridge, who singled to lead off the inning. The final two MState runs came in the fourth as Nesbit and Brittany Bell singled and scored on Jessie Bailey's double off the wall in left-center.

In the nightcap against the Hoyas (16-24), State did all of its damage with four runs in both the second and third innings. Seven different Bulldogs collected a hit in the eight-hit attack, with Bainbridge leading the way by going 2-for-2 with two RBI and two runs scored.

Nesbit kicked off the Bulldog four-run second as she singled. Bell, who entered to pinch-run, scored as Jessie Spain lined a double to the wall in left-center. Spain put MSU up 2-0 as she scored on Bainbridge's single to second base. Jessie Bailey, who walked a batter earlier, gave Mississippi State the three-run advantage as she scored on a wild pitch. Bures capped the four-run burst with her ground-out to second that plated Bainbridge.

The decisive third inning began with Bell's single. After stealing second and moving to third on a Hayle Guess base hit, Spain gave MSU the 5-0 lead with an RBI ground-out. Jessie Bailey added her second double to the night, a shot to right-center, that scored Guess, and she scored for a 7-0 State lead as Bainbridge landed a base hit in center field. Bainbridge advanced to third on a throwing error and scored the game's final run on a Boyce ground-out.

Prior to the Bulldogs' final two games of the weekend, MVSU will meet Georgetown in a game set for a 10 a.m. first pitch.

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's Lady Bulldog tennis team hosts 11th-ranked Vanderbilt on Sunday, March 30, to help close out 2008 Super Bulldog Weekend activities on campus. The match with the Commodores is slated for a 1 p.m. CT start.

MSU enters Sunday's action with a 7-8 overall record. MSU dropped Friday's matchup with the Wildcats of Kentucky 5-1. MSU's Valeriya Makarycheva claimed the lone point for State by claiming victory in a come-from-behind three-set match.

Sunday's meeting will serve as 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 Sunday'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. - The Mississippi State track and field squads were successful in defending their home track by winning the Bulldog Invitational as part of Super Bulldog Weekend activities on Saturday, March 29 at the W.O. Spencer Stadium/ Carl Maddox Track. The Bulldogs tallied 234 points, while the Lady Bulldogs scored 137 points through 19 events.

In the much anticipated relay events, the men's 4x100-meter relay squad (sophomore Kendall May, junior John Bailey, senior Jamil Hubbard and freshman O'Neal Wilder) earned their second qualifying mark of the season with their season-best time of 39.62 seconds to finish in first place. The 4x400-meter relay (senior Chris Woods, Hubbard, senior Golden Coachman and junior John Bailey) qualified regionally for the second time this season with their first place-time of 3:07.70.

May sped past the field in the 100-meter dash, earning his second regional qualifying of the season with a first-place time of 10.46. Woods grabbed his first individual qualifying mark of the season in the 800-meter run, carding a time of 1:48.40 to take first place. Senior Kyle Roberts competed in the 400-meter hurdles, earning his first regional qualifying mark of the season in 52.28. Wilder, who also competed on the 4x100-meter relay team that earned a regional qualifying mark earlier in the day, earned his second standard of the day in the 200-meter, legging out the race in 21.08 to finish second.

During 3000-meter steeplechase competition, junior Jonathan Rono nabbed a new personal-best, finishing the race in 9:09.32. Senior Pad Judd crossed the line second behind Rono with a time of 9:17.36. In the 1500-meter run, the Bulldogs swept the top five spots, collegiately, with freshman Matthew Cameron capturing the individual crown with his personal-best time of 3:50.22. Freshman Adam Lenz won his first collegiate event in the 3000-meter run, clocking a time of 8:31.13. Senior Robert Scribner finishing a close second in a season-best 8:32.30.

Junior Allen Cassell scored a huge personal-best in the high jump, elevating himself seven feet, and a fourth to garner first place honors in the event. In the men's hammer throw, junior Kiley Aguar eclipsed his personal-best by over 30 feet, throwing the hammer 183-01 to take first place in the event.

"I thought that the 4x100 did great," said MSU Head Track and Field Coach Al Schmidt. "O'Neal Wilder got a faster time. Kyle (Roberts) made it in the 400-meter hurdles. Allen (Cassell), of course, a big personal best. He jumped over three inches in the high jump. It was a tremendous day for the men. They just plowed through the competition. They doubled the score on everybody so I am really pleased with that. I have not been able to look at all of it (the results), but I am very happy. Again, like I said last week, we are supposed to win a home meet, but it was tricky because we were down some pretty important people on the women's side, but we did a good job."

Sophomore Wendy Copeland, junior Priscilla Gaines and junior Janelle Finley dominated the long jump, sweeping the top three spots in the competition. Copeland jumped a personal-best 20-01 ½ (first place), while Gaines leaped a personal-best 19-08 ¼ (second place) and Finley finished with a jump of 18-11 ¾ (third.) Both Copeland and Gaines notched NCAA Regional qualifying marks with their jumps.

Freshman Simone Domingue carded a time of 4:49.39 to take second place in the 1500-meter run and blew away the field in the 3000-meter run, finishing in a personal-best 10:05.08 to take first place.

In women's relay action, the Lady Bulldog 4x100-meter relay team (junior Gabrielle Dillon, Copeland, sophomore Bridgett Rose and Gaines) were eight-tenths of a seconds shy from qualifying for NCAAs with their time of 45.78, despite taking first place in the event.

"We felt like we did a good job," said Schmidt. "We won the meet by 10 points. That was without three of our big multi-event performers, who at home meets do three or four events apiece and score a lot of points for us. We did it without them and I felt the rest of the ladies did a great job. Wendy (Copeland) had a NCAA qualifier and so did Priscilla (Gaines) in the long jump. Both of them set personal bests and Simone (Domingue) came up big again in both the 1500 and 3000 and set a personal best in the outside 3K. I thought it was a really good day for the ladies. We ran a 45.78 in the 4x100, they just missed qualifying. That is a good time after a long drought of not having a good 4x100. So we were happy on the ladies' side."

With little recovery time, both teams will bounce back and compete in the prestigious Texas Relays in Austin, Texas on the campus of the University of Texas on Wednesday-Saturday, April 2-5.

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