News from MSU Media Relations--April 18

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

Softball
RIDGELAND, Miss. - MSU senior Hayle Guess collected the Bulldogs' lone hit and drew a walk as the United States Olympic Team claimed a 13-0 victory over Mississippi State Thursday night at Freedom Ridge Park as part of the team's "Bound 4 Beijing" tour.

Playing before a spirited crowd of 3,242, Team USA improved to 24-1 on the tour. The amateur squad of the game's best had no-hit fellow Southeastern Conference rival Alabama in its most recent outing, Tuesday night at Birmingham, Ala.

The 24th-ranked Bulldogs managed three total base runners, including a walk and a hit batsman, against former Texas all-American Cat Osterman, a three-time national player of the year during her collegiate days at Texas. Osterman worked all six innings and struck out 10 Bulldogs while throwing 94 pitches.

Hayle Guess led off the second inning with a leadoff single and also drew a walk in the fourth. Brittany Bell reached as a hit batsman in the third inning before advancing to second in the frame.

"I was pleased with the way we came out and played tonight, especially on offense," Mississippi State head coach Jay Miller said. "Our pitchers were a little tentative and got into some trouble early, but that is expected when you are playing a great opponent like the U.S. It was a great opportunity for everyone to get into the game, and our kids responded well. It was fun to step out of conference play and relax before Georgia comes to town this weekend."

Team USA scored twice in the first inning. The all-star squad then added four runs in the second inning, three runs in the third inning and two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.

Caitlin Lowe had three hits and three RBI to pace Team USA's 11-hit attack. Vicky Galindo and Lauren Lappin, who homered in the game, each drove in two runs for Team USA. No other USA player had multiple hits.

For MSU, Misty Flesher pitched the first two innings. Flesher allowed four hits and six runs (five earned), with three walks and no strikeouts. Kelsey Nurnberg pitched two innings, allowing five hits and five runs (three earned), with three walks and no strikeouts. ElizabethWoolven threw one inning, allowing two hits and two runs (both earned), with one walk and no strikeouts.

The Bulldogs, who are 35-15 and 9-10 in SEC play, return to Southeastern Conference play this weekend, hosting Georgia in a three-game series at the MSU Softball Field. Game times for the Saturday MSU-UGA doubleheder and the Sunday series finale are both at 1 p.m. All three games will be broadcast live on WMSV 91.1 and online at www.wmsv.msstate.edu.


Women's Tennis
AUBURN, Ala. - Mississippi State's women's tennis team fell in the first round of the 2008 Southeastern Conference Championship Thursday, dropping a 4-0 decision to fifth-seeded and 24th-ranked Tennessee. The Lady Bulldogs dropped to 7-13 overall with the loss. Tennessee improved to 14-8 on the season.

UT grabbed the early lead with strong 8-0 and 8-2 wins at the No. 2 and 3 doubles positions. At No. 2, Tennessee's pairing of Rosalia Alda and Ghizela Schutte downed State's tandem of Radka Ferancova and Renee Joseph. On court #3, UT's team of Connor Vogel and Jennifer Meredith bested MSU's Tatiana Feit and Valeriya Makarycheva. Tennessee led 6-2 on court #1 when play was suspended at that point.

In singles, UT grabbed the first set in five of the six singles matches to set up the team victory. Tennessee took a 2-0 advantage when Schutte completed a 6-0, 6-2 victory over MSU's Renee Joseph at the No. 2 position. UT went up 3-0 when Connor Vogel provided a 6-4, 6-1 win over State's Makarycheva at No. 5.

The match-clincher would come at the No. 6 spot, where UT's Alda bested State's DeAndra Saddler 6-0, 7-6.

In the remaining matches, which were suspended, Tennessee held one-set leads at the No. 1 and 3 positions, while State's de Villiers had secured the first set at No. 4.


Men's Tennis
Fayetteville, Ark. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team fell 4-0 to 18th-ranked LSU Thursday morning in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Championship, held at the George M. Billingsley Tennis Center on the University of Arkansas campus. With the loss, State fell to 8-12 overall this season.

The Bulldogs fell behind early, dropping two of the three doubles matches. The first completed match came on court #3 where LSU's team of Sebastian Carlsson and Jan Zelezny topped MSU's pair of Artem Kuznetsov and Antonio Lastre 8-1. The clinching point for LSU came on court #1 where 26th-ranked Tigers Michael Venus and James Cluskey defeated State's duo of Ryan Farlow and Pjotrs Necajevs 8-5. Play on court #2 between MSU's Philippe Frayssinoux and Chris Doerr and LSU's Colt Gaston and Kevin Dessauer was suspended at 7-7.

LSU would quickly expand its lead to 2-0 when singles began as Gaston downed MSU's Farlow 6-2, 6-1 on court #4. The Tigers pushed their lead to 3-0 when Cluskey rallied from a first set deficit to top MSU's Kuznetsov 7-5, 6-0 on court #5. LSU would close out the Bulldogs with their fourth point coming from court #3 where Dessauer won 6-3, 6-4 over State sophomore Doerr.

Three matches would be suspended after LSU clinched the match. On court #1, MSU's 16th-ranked Ivan Bjelica led LSU's 39th-ranked Venus 5-2 in the second set after dropping the first 6-3. At the #2 spot, MSU's 48th-ranked Frayssinoux trailed LSU's 110th-ranked Zelezny 6-4, 4-0 while MSU's Lastre was down 6-0, 5-2 to LSU's Carlsson.

Thursday's loss marked the first time MSU had dropped a first-round match in the SEC Championship since 2003. State falls to 20-18 overall in the tournament since 1990 and is now 2-2 against LSU in the event.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State seniors Ivan Bjelica and Philippe Frayssinoux were named to the All-Southeastern Conference first and second teams respectively announced by the league office in Birmingham on Wednesday. The selections marked the third consecutive season that two Bulldogs have received the honor.

Bjelica, currently ranked 16th nationally in singles, earned all-SEC status for the third straight year, including the second-straight first team accolade. The Belgrade, Serbia native has amassed 16 victories this spring and holds an 8-2 singles record in the top spot of the lineup.

Frayssinoux was named to the second team for the second straight season. The Paris, France native, ranked 48th in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association's singles poll, leads MSU with 24 singles wins this season. Frayssinoux has compiled 10 dual match wins this season including six wins in SEC play.

MSU has now had players honored 62 times as All-SEC selections dating back to 1966. Bjelica, Frayssinoux and the rest of the Bulldog netmen will return to action Thursday as they face LSU in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Match time is set for 8:30 a.m. at Arkansas' George M. Billingsley Tennis Center.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State junior tennis player Ryan Farlow has been selected to the 2008 Southeastern Conference Men's Tennis Community Service Team, announced Thursday by the conference office in Birmingham.

The Madison, Miss., native has not only excelled in the classroom, but has also used some of his time to give back to the Starkville community.

This past year, Farlow visited with children at the Aiken Village Daycare and Sudduth Elementary School. He participated in the Bully Book Fair with Starkville Schools and helped with the MSU Halloween Carnival for kids.

In addition to his community service efforts, Farlow has been active in other capacities on the MSU campus. He is a member of Beta Alpha Psi accounting honor society. He is also a member of the MSU Student Athlete Advisory Council and is an active participant of the M-Club student-athlete organization.

On the courts this season, Farlow has captured 22 singles wins and nine doubles victories. He has a 6-1 record at the #4 singles position and captured five SEC wins.

The SEC sponsors Community Service Teams in all 20 sports. The purpose of the SEC Community Service Team is to highlight athletes from each school who gives back to their community in superior service efforts.


Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Eight of Mississippi State's men's distance corps will head to Walnut Grove, Calif. to take place in the prestigious 50th annual Mt. SAC Relays on the campus of Mt. San Antonio College on Friday, April 18. The half century old event is being held at the Hilmer Lodge Stadium, which has been the site of two Olympic Track and Field trials and is the site where 13 world records have been set.

Freshmen Ben Blakenship and Matthew Cameron, junior Jonathan Rono and senior Brandon Smith will represent MSU in the 1,500-meter run.

The duo of senior Pad Judd and Rono will be competing in the 3000-meter steeplechase, while Blakenship will also run in the 5,000-meter run.

Senior Ashenafi Arega, freshman Adam Lenz and junior Robert Scribner will be the last group to run, taking part in the 10,000-meter run.

Action from the Golden State can be found via the MSU website at www.mstateathletics.com.


Women's Golf
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State women's golf squad will open up play in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Championship Friday at the Tennessee National Golf Club in Loudon, Tenn. The three-day, 54-hole event will feature all 12 SEC teams, eight of which are ranked in the nation's top-30.

Playing for the Lady Bulldogs this weekend will be Julia Huh, Mallory Batson, Erika Thornton, Suzanne Stanley and Gina Sharp. Huh, now eighth on the all-time career rounds played list at MSU with 99, currently leads the team with a 76.65 stroke average. Batson and Thornton, both freshmen, are second and third respectively in stroke average and will both be playing in their ninth career collegiate tournaments. Stanley will be playing in her ninth tournament this season while Sharp will play her seventh this season.

"We know the golf course is going to be a true test with their massive angulated bent grass greens," said MSU head coach Christi Sanders. "The girls will have to be very patient during the course of play along with being creative an imaginative in the short game area."

The Lady Bulldogs will tee off at 8 a.m. CT on hole #10. Second and third round tee times will be determined from previous round finishes.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Jillian Jones of the Mississippi State women's golf team has been named to the 2008 SEC Women's Golf Community Service Team, announced by the conference office on Thursday.

A junior and Crossville, Tenn., native, Jones is an active member of the student M-Club organization for student athletes. She has helped with the Halloween Carnival held for children in the Starkville area and has worked with the Bully Book Blitz program in which she read to children at Starkville schools. Jones also attended the Bully's Book Blitz pep rally. She has spent time with trash pick up and painting on campus and also worked the Thanksgiving food drive on campus, collecting, sorting and delivering canned food to those in need.

The SEC sponsors Community Service Teams for all 20 league sponsored sports. The Community Service Team looks to highlight an athlete from each school who gives back to their community in superior service efforts.


Men's Golf
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's golf team will tee off this Friday in the SEC Tournament at the par 72 Frederica Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga. The Bulldogs will play three days of 18 holes per day starting on Friday.

MSU enters the tournament ranked eighth in the SEC, averaging 72.94 strokes per 18 holes with a team average of 291.78 after eleven regular season tournaments, which included eight top ten finishes and two tournament titles (Magnolia Cup & Roadrunner Intercollegiate).

"We can only control what we do," said Coach Clay Homan. "The good thing about golf is that there is no defense, so we can only worry about ourselves. I am confident if that's what we do, we will find success this weekend."

The Bulldogs rank four golfers in the top 50 of the SEC in stroke average, Carlos Sainz, Jr., Josh Oller, Matt Fast and Noah Goldman, with Goldman standing among the top 20 with an average of 72.56 strokes per round in 25 rounds of play. All four will make the trip to St. Simons Island, Ga., along with junior Josh Bevell.

"We're playing much better of late," said Homan. "I feel like we have a lot of guy's confidence back, so hopefully we can start getting some low scores like we are capable of."

All twelve SEC schools will compete in the tournament, seven of which are ranked in the top 25 (Golfstat.com Poll) and ten ranked inside the top 50.

"There is tons of talent in this league," said Homan. "Honestly, there are no bad teams so that makes things challenging."

Tee time is expected at 6 a.m. CST with live stats available through www.MStateathletics.com.


Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Former all-state guard Twany Beckham from Ballard High School in Louisville, Ky., by way of the New Hampton School in New Hampshire has signed a national letter of intent with Mississippi State University, as announced Thursday by MSU head men's basketball coach Rick Stansbury.

A 6-foot-5, 190-pound backcourt performer, Beckham most recently averaged around 15 points, eight assists and six rebounds per game this past season as a fifth-year player for coach Peter Hutchins' Huskies at the New Hampton School, while competing in the Class A division of the highly competitive New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Beckham is ranked No. 30 nationally among Hoop Scoop's ranking of the nation's top 100 fifth-year players.

"We're excited to have Twany join our basketball program," Stansbury noted. "He's a terrific, young man from a quality family, in addition to having an excellent basketball background at both the prep school and high school levels."

Hailing from Louisville, Ky., Beckham was a three-year starter for coach Chris Renner at Ballard High School, where he helped lead the Bruins to a three-year composite record of 86-16. As a senior, Beckham averaged 16.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game in collecting first-team all-state honors from the Courier-Journal newspaper after leading the Bruins to a 35-3 record and runner-up finish in the state tournament. The 7th Region Player of the Year in 2006-07 capped his high school career by representing his home state in the Indianapolis Star Indiana/Kentucky All-Star series, where he teamed with current State freshman Riley Benock.

Ranked 15th all-time on Ballard High School's all-time scoring list with 1,258 career points, Beckham averaged 14.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists an outing as a junior in earning third-team all-state accolades for the 22-10 Bruins. The left-handed guard averaged 6.9 points, 4.0 assists and 3.4 boards per contest as a sophomore starter to help pace BHS to a 29-3 mark and a Sweet 16 finish in the 2005 state tournament.

Beckham joins Mississippi State fall signees Romero Osby of Meridian's Northeast Lauderdale High School and Dee Bost of Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia.


Gene's Page Top Stories