STARKVILLE, Miss. - Chelsea Bramlett put together a 5-for-7 afternoon at the plate as No. 23 Mississippi State dropped a pair of hard-fought games to third-ranked Florida, 5-0 and 7-2, Saturday afternoon at the MSU Softball Field.
The Bulldogs fall to 32-13 overall and 6-9 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Gators improve to 41-2 and 13-1 in league play.
Bramlett extended her hit streak to eight games, and her two stolen bases on the afternoon put her at 38 on the year, which rates as the third-most in a season in school history.
State took an early 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the third inning. Courtney Bures walked, and with one out in the inning, Hayle Guess, who matched her career-long hit streak with 12, beat out a bunt. Bures and Guess scored when Jessie Spain's ground ball in front of the plate was thrown down the first-base line by UF pitcher Stephanie Brombacher.
The Gators cut the lead to a single run as Ali Gardiner hit an RBI single up the middle off State starter Kelsey Nurnberg, and the Bulldogs held onto the one-run lead until the sixth when Mary Ratliff delivered a two-out single that gave the Gators the 3-2 lead and chased Nurnberg from the game.
"We were right where we wanted to be for five innings in the second game, but, unfortunately, it's a seven-inning game," MSU head coach Jay Miller said. "It looked like we ran out of gas towards the end, and we missed out on some opportunities in both games.
"When you have runners in scoring position, you have to step up and get the big hit against good teams like Florida," Miller added. "Florida did a nice job of getting key hits to drive in runs. Hopefully we can get the big hits tomorrow."
Nurnberg fell to 15-6 on the year as she surrendered the three runs on six hits with two strikeouts over five and two-thirds innings.
Florida broke the game open with a four-run seventh off relievers Elizabeth Woolven and Misty Flesher. The pair each tossed two-thirds of an inning, with both giving up two runs apiece.
Stacey Nelson picked up her second straight decision of the day as she pitched the final four innings and limited the Bulldogs to a hit while striking out four. In the series opener, she tossed a five-hit shutout as Florida downed the Bulldogs 5-0.
The Gators scored a lone run in the first inning on a Gardiner RBI double. UF capped the scoring with two runs in both the third and seventh innings.
Bramlett had three of MSU's five hits, while Guess and Ali Bainbridge each contributed singles. For MSU, four of its five hits came with two outs.
Flesher fell to 13-7 on the season as she allowed three runs on five hits with three strikeouts and a pair of walks over four innings. Woolven tossed the final three innings, surrendering two runs on two hits with a pair of strikeouts.
The Bulldogs and Gators finish the three-game series Sunday in a game set for a 1 p.m. first pitch on the MSU campus. The series finale will be broadcast live on WMSV 91.1 and online at www.wmsv.msstate.edu.
Track & Field
AUSTIN, Texas - Mississippi State junior Marrissa Harris ran a superior 13.48 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles to shatter the MSU school record that was previously set by her during her freshman campaign. Harris and the rest of the maroon and white corps concluded competition in the 81st annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas. The event was held at the Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.
En route to her record-breaking and personal-best performance, Harris took sixth place overall and picked up her second NCAA regional qualifying mark of the season in the event. All nine finalists in the 100-meter hurdles final earned NCAA regional qualifying standards.
In the men's 4x100-meter relay, the squad of sophomore Kendall May, junior John Bailey, senior Jamil Hubbard and freshman O'Neal Wilder finished fifth with a time of 39.75. For their combined effort, the combo earned their fifth NCAA Regional qualifying standard of the season.
Continuing MSU's relay action was the women's 4x200-meter relay. The foursome of sophomore Bridgett Rose, juniors Gabrielle Dillon and Marrissa Harris and sophomore LaQuinta Aaron recorded a time of 1:36.34 to haul in sixth place. With their time, they are now second place all-time in the 4x200-meter category at MSU.
During the men's distance medley competition, freshmen Matthew Cameron and Emanuel Mayers, senior Golden Coachman and freshman Ben Blakenship paced themselves to a fourth-place finish with their time of 9:48.34.
In MSU's final event of the day, the 4x400-meter relay, the quartet of senior Chris Woods, Hubbard, Bailey and Wilder captured fifth place with a time of 3:05.28. With their time, they also earned a new NCAA regional qualifying standard.
"It was a pretty good day," said MSU Head Coach Al Schmidt. "The DMR had the fourth best time. Marrissa (Harris) set a new school record in the hurdles. The men's 4x400 got fifth. All the players that are ranked nationally are here. Any time you can improve your time nationally, that is a good day. We are progressing and we are right where we need to be."
Both squads return to action on Saturday, April 12, taking part in the Ole Miss Invitational.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Two three-setters proved to be the difference in MSU's upset bid against #16 LSU Saturday afternoon, as the Bulldogs dropped a 5-2 decision to the Tigers at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on the MSU campus. The 49th-ranked Bulldogs (8-9, 2-7 Southeastern Conference) rallied from an early deficit but ultimately dropped their fourth straight match.
"We were right there again today," said MSU head coach Per Nilsson. "It is frustrating to be this close and not come out on top. We have to get better in these close matches and figure out a way to get it done."
LSU (12-6, 5-4 SEC) gained early momentum as the Tigers took two of three doubles matches to claim the opening point. MSU's team of Ivan Bjelica and Philippe Frayssinoux were the first off the courts as they closed out an 8-4 victory on court #1 over LSU's 30th-ranked duo of James Cluskey and Michael Venus. On court #3, LSU would respond as the tandem of Sebastian Carlsson and Jan Zelezny downed Bulldogs Chris Doerr and Tanner Stump 8-2. LSU clinched the point when Kevin Dessauer and Colt Gaston topped State's Ryan Farlow and Pjotrs Necajevs 8-5 on court #2.
The match would tighten considerably when singles began as MSU took the first set on three courts. LSU would extend their lead to 2-0 as LSU's Cluskey downed MSU freshman Antonio Lastre 6-1, 6-2 on court #5. MSU's Doerr would then respond, closing the score to 2-1 as the London, England native won 6-4, 6-1 over Tiger Julien Gautier at the #4 spot. LSU pushed the lead to 3-1 when Dessauer eased to a 6-0, 6-2 win over State's Farlow at the #3 position. Once again, State responded and narrowed the gap to 3-2 as 26th-ranked Bjelica moved past 47th-ranked Venus of LSU 6-4, 6-4 on court #1.
Both of the remaining matches on court would go to three sets before the match was the decided. On court #2, MSU's 57th-ranked Frayssinoux breezed to a 6-2 win in the first set over LSU's Zelezny. However Zelezny would take the final two sets 6-4, 6-2 to clinch the win for the Tigers. Meanwhile on court #6, Bulldog sophomore Artem Kuznetsov split a pair of tiebreakers before he fell 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-0 to Carlsson of LSU, giving LSU its fifth point.
With his victory on court #1, Bjelica improved to 6-2 this season in SEC matches. The win for Bjelica was his ninth over a ranked opponent this season including his fourth over a top-50 opponent. State's Doerr snapped a two match losing skid as he captured his fourth dual-match win of the season. In doubles, Bjelica and Frayssinoux moved to 8-4 in dual matches at the #1 position as they won for the second time over a top-30 opponent.
The Bulldogs will close out their 2008 regular-season home slate Sunday, welcoming 47th-ranked Arkansas at 1 p.m. Bjelica and Frayssinoux will be honored during a Senior Day presentation.