Monday Morning Coffee Break

Looking back at the week of Mississippi State sports.


Mississippi State baseball lost four of four this week - one to Memphis and three to Vanderbilt - and have now lost six in a row, the first time that's happened since 2004.

Bad news, to say the least, but for those who are into history and believe a little in superstition here's a stat for you. The year after a Ron Polk-led MSU team has had six losses in a row in a season, the following season the team has records of 42-15 (17-5 SEC), 44-20 (17-10), 38-24 (17-13). So, here's hoping the next coach has some of that Ron Polk good luck in his back pocket.

Back to the season. State was competitive in the first two losses that started the streak. Both losses were 9-8 to Kentucky at Lexington, Kentucky. Add a healthy Justin Pigott to the mix and MSU possibly wins one of those two.

As for the loss to Memphis, the pitching, other than Drew Hollinghead and Aaron Weatherford, let the 'Dogs down to the tune of 9 runs (8 earned) to give Memphis an extra inning victory. The victory was Memphis' first since 2003, although the series has been very competitive the last three years, with MSU winning by 1 to 3 runs.

The first two games against Vanderbilt were absolutely two of the most frustrating games that I've been around. MSU had a 7-3 lead heading into the fifth inning, but gave up 11 runs in the next three innings, which gave Vanderbilt an insurmountable lead.

Saturday was even worse with Vanderbilt crushing MSU to the tune of 16-0. It was so bad that the players decided to have a team meeting to air out their grievances after the game.

And it seemed to work to an extent with MSU playing Vanderbilt close, although they ultimately lost 4-3.

Despite the negatives of the four-game week, there were some positives.

The first one was the continued excellent performance of closer Aaron Weatherford. In 4.2 innings he gave up 1 unearned run on 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 10.

A couple of other pitchers also did well in their one outing during the week. Forrest Moore threw 2 innings, giving up no runs on 1 hit and 2 walks with 3 strikeouts. Greg Houston threw 3 innings, allowing no runs on 4 hits and 0 walks, which was his best outing of the season.

Hitting-wise, there were a few players that had good weeks, including Mark Goforth who was .571 (4-for-7), Ryan Duffy who came in at .364 (4-for-11) and Connor Powers who hit .333 (5-for-15, 5 RBI). The bad news is Powers pulled a hamstring Sunday against Vanderbilt. No news at this time as to when he'll be back.

Some good news is on the horizon, though. It looks like SEC starting pitcher Justin Pigott will be back for next weekend's series at Alabama. Although it's still early, it looks like he may wind up pitching on Sunday, either in relief or as a starter. It also appears Cody Freeman could be back in about a week and a half if everything goes well with his rehab. It'll only be as a DH since he can't catch due to the labrum tear, which, according to Coach Polk, will require surgery after the season. His recovery time is expected to be from 7 to 9 months.

State plays Ole Miss this coming Tuesday in Pearl, Mississippi.

Men's Basketball

State saw the transfer of sophomore Ben Hansbrough, but picked up a commitment from Twany Beckham, a 6-5, 190-pound combo guard. Based on what I've heard about Twany, he's great at creating off the dribble, has a high basketball IQ and is a very unselfish player.

On the academic front, two of State's basketball players made the 2007-08 SEC Winter Academic Honor Roll - Billy Begley made it five in a roll with the honor, while Joseph Iupe also earned the honor.

Women's Basketball

State's women's basketball team had good news on the academic front with eight student-athletes making the 2008 Southeastern Conference Winter Academic Honor Roll. They were tops in the league.


The State softball team was 3-1 for the week, with a three-game series sweep at South Carolina and a 2-1 loss to Ole Miss at Ridgeland, MS. The sweep was MSU's third in SEC play this week.

The 24th ranked Bulldogs are now 35-15 overall and 9-10 in SEC play.

Leading the way pitching-wise this past week was freshman Misty Flesher who threw 16.2 innings, allowing 1 run (earned) on 13 hits and 2 walks with 15 strikeouts. She was 2-0 on the week with an ERA of 0.42.

Leading the hitting was Chelsea Bramlett who hit .500 (5-for-10) for the week. Not far behind was Courtney Bures at .417 (5-for-12).

As a team, State is currently batting .300 (4th in the league) and their team ERA is 1.91 (6th in the league).

The next activity for the Bulldogs is in Ridgeland, MS Thursday night against the USA Olympic Team in an exhibition game.

Men's Golf

Men's golf finished 8th (out of 15th teams) at the Bank of America Intercollegiate.

Their next tournament will be on April 18 at the SEC Championship in St. Simons Island, Ga.

Women's Golf

The women's golf team finished 11th in a field of 15 at the Canes and Cardinal Classic at Don Shula's Golf Club in Miami Lakes, Fla.

Their next activity will be at the SEC Championship, April 18-20 at the Tennessee National Golf Club in Loudon, Tenn.

Men's Tennis

The Mississippi State men's tennis team lost to No. 7 Ole Miss 4-3 in the final regular season match. State fell to 8-11 overall and 2-9 in SEC play.

Ivan Bjelica, with his win, won his 4th straight SEC match and is currently 7-2 in SEC play.

Next up is the SEC Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. The first match will be on Thursday, April 17.

Women's Tennis

State lost a pair of matches to LSU and Ole Miss to finish the regular season 7-12 overall with the loss and 0-11 in league play.

MSU begins postseason play Thursday, April 17, when they will face 25th-ranked Tennessee in the opening round of the 2008 SEC Championship, which is being hosted by Auburn.

Track and Field

The good news for the men's track and field team is their No. 10 national ranking in the first United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association poll (USTFCCCA) of the track season.

Recruiting-wise, MSU's men's team signed two outstanding athletes - All-Americans Dwight Mullings and Kevin Bowen of Essex College. Mullings, according to associate head track coach Steve Dudley, may be the top junior college recruit in the nation. Both should have immediate impacts on the track team next season.

In their one meet of the week, the MSU track and field teams earned seven new regional qualifying marks at the Ole Miss Invitational in Oxford, Miss.

Earning new regional qualifying times were Bridgett Rose, Kendall May, Golden Coachman, Emanuel Mayers, Jamil Hubbard (2) and Chris Woods.

Both the women's and men's squads will prepare for a busy week with part of the athletes competing at the Mt. SAC Invitational in Walnut Grove, Calif. on April 18-20, while the others will take part in the Georgia Invitational in Athens, Ga. on April 19.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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