News from MSU Media Relations--April 24

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Softball, Track & Field and MSU Athletics.

Softball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State freshman Ali Bainbridge tripled, doubled and drove in two runs as the 23rd-ranked Bulldogs held off Southern Mississippi 5-2 Wednesday night at the MSU Softball Field.

Bainbridge's two extra-base hits paced MSU's 10-hit attack as the Bulldogs improved to 38-16 on the season. Sophomore Chelsea Bramlett returned to the line-up and went 2-for-4 with a run scored to improve her hit streak to a career-best 14 games. Fellow sophomore Jessie Bailey also registered a pair of hits and scored a run.

MSU starter Kelsey Nurnberg and USM's Samantha Davis battled to a stalemate through the first four innings. Both offenses had chances, leaving a combined nine runners on base through the first fourth frames, but were unable to come up with the big hit.

After leaving the bases loaded in both the third and fourth innings, MSU found itself in an early 1-0 deficit thanks to a Megan Hill two-out single to center field that scored Allison Bullard, who reached on a pop fly that went just beyond the glove of a diving Courtney Bures along the line in left field.

The Bulldog bats came to life in the home half of the frame and put together two runs. With one out in the inning, Bainbridge lined a triple into the right-field corner. She scored as Courtney Bures hit a line drive to center that deflected off Hill's glove, allowing Bures to advance to third. Hayle Guess put MSU on top with her double to the wall in left field that plated Bures.

"We finally started to swing the bats the second time through the lineup," MState head coach Jay Miller said. "I was frustrated with our hitters that first time through the order, but we did a nice job of making the adjustments and being patient at the plate. Ali, Chelsea and Brittany got some big hits for us and we were finally able to push some runs across and pull away."

The Golden Eagles (23-25) fought back in the top of the sixth, tying the game on Brandi Alonzo's single off State reliever Misty Flesher that went just above the glove of a diving Bainbridge at second base.

MSU wasn't to be denied, however, scoring three runs to pull away and seal the win. Bailey led off with a single and scored on Brittany Bell's double to the gap in left-center. Bell was retired on a fielder's choice by Nakita Boyce, but Bramlett beat out a bunt single and Bainbridge cleared the bases with her double to the wall in left-center to give the Bulldogs a 5-2 lead that Flesher would make hold up.

Flesher tossed an inning and two-thirds and allowed just two hits with a strikeout to earn her fifth straight win and move to 18-7 on the year. Nurnberg went the opening five and a third, giving up the pair of runs on seven hits with five strikeouts.

Golden Eagle starter Samantha Davis allowed five runs, four earned, on 10 hits with a walk over five and two-thirds innings as she fell to 13-9 on the year. Meghan Harbuck recorded the final out, walking one.

MSU closes out the 2008 home slate this weekend, welcoming No. 10 Tennessee for a three-game Southeastern Conference series beginning Saturday at the MSU Softball Field. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. State seniors Megan Bateman, Nakita Boyce, Lindsay Hunley, Courtney Bures and Hayle Guess will be honored prior to Sunday's series finale.

Admission to all MSU home games is free, and all three games will be broadcast live on WMSV 91.1 and online at www.wmsv.msstate.edu.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State softball team moved up one place to 23rd in this week's ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll. The rise in the ranking comes on the eve of hosting Southern Mississippi Wednesday night at the MSU Softball Field in the non-conference finale for both teams. First pitch between the Bulldogs and Golden Eagles is set for 6:30 p.m., and admission to all MSU home softball games is free.

State enters the mid-week showdown with the Golden Eagles looking to inch closer to the 40-win plateau. MSU moved to 37-16 on the year and improved one spot in the poll as it claimed an SEC series victory over then-No. 21 Georgia. The series victory over UGA keeps the Bulldogs in the USA Softball ranking for the 11th straight week, the program's longest run ever in the ranking.

Senior Courtney Bures was instrumental in MSU's two victories over Georgia. The Haymarket, Va., native hit .750 with a double, a home run, four RBI and two runs scored. Bures' home run in Saturday's game two pushed her past Iyhia McMichael for the Mississippi State career RBI record.

On the year, Bures is hitting a team second-best .395 while leading the team in doubles (12) and RBI (37). Sophomore Chelsea Bramlett continues to hold the team's top batting average (.451). She also paces the squad in runs (43) and stolen bases (41).

Freshman Brittany Bell had an outstanding weekend at the plate against UGA, hitting .625 with her first career home run, a double, three RBI and four runs scored to earn SEC Freshman of the Week honors. Bell also stole two bases during the three-game set to help the Bulldogs set a new school record for single-season stolen bases. The 118 stolen bases, accumulated over 53 games, better the previous mark of 116 set by last year's contingent.

Freshman pitcher Misty Flesher pieced together another outstanding effort in the circle last weekend. A week after picking up two victories at South Carolina, the Lone Grove, Okla., native tossed a one-hit shutout in the opener before holding Georgia to one hit over the final four innings as MSU rallied for a 7-4 win in Sunday's rubber game. The two wins upped Flesher's record to 17-7 on the year. She has tallied a 1.92 ERA over 138 and two-thirds innings this year to go along with 102 strikeouts and 26 walks.

One of her 17 victories came in State's 9-0 win over USM in Hattiesburg on Mar. 18. The Golden Eagles bring a 23-24 record into Starkville Wednesday night after dropping a pair of games to C-USA foe Marshall over the weekend.

Head coach Jay Miller's squad will be aiming for its fifth straight win over the Golden Eagles and seventh in the last eight games. Dating back to the first meeting in 1983, MState has compiled a 27-10 lead in the series.

Megan Hill paces a Southern Miss squad that comes into Wednesday night's game hitting .234. Hill tops the squad in batting average (.313), home runs (four) and RBI (26), and she stands second in doubles (six) and triples (three). Samantha Davis leads the team in the circle, registering a 13-8 record and 2.46 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 142 innings.

Following the non-conference finale, MSU closes the 2008 home schedule by hosting 10th-ranked Tennessee and reigning national player of the week Tonya Callahan in a three-game Southeastern Conference series. The three-game set begins with a doubleheader on Saturday before closing with a single game on Sunday. First pitch for both days is 1 p.m. Sunday will also be Senior Day at the MSU Softball Field, as the team will honor Megan Bateman, Lindsay Hunley, Nakita Boyce, Hayle Guess and Courtney Bures prior to the first pitch.


Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State track and field squads return to competition this week, competing in the 114th annual Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Penn., starting on Thursday, April 24 at Franklin Field. The historical meet is being hosted by the University of Pennsylvania.

The Penn Relays is a world-renowned meet, with athletes traveling from all over the world to compete in the famed event. The three-day meet features high school, college and other competitors that will compete in more than 300 races.

Last weekend, MState competed at the Bulldog Limited in Athens, Ga. on the campus of the University of Georgia and collected three more NCAA qualifying marks. The performance of the weekend came from senior Jamil Hubbard, who collected his fourth individual NCAA regional mark of the season. Hubbard finished first in the 400-meter dash, running a personal-best time of 46.05 seconds. With his time, the Atlanta, Ga.-native now owns the top 400-meter dash time in the SEC and 10th in the country. Senior Chris Woods added a second NCAA regional mark in 800-meter run with his first-place time of 1:48.55. Woods' time is third in the SEC and seventh in the nation. State's 4x100-meter relay team also tallied their fifth NCAA regional qualifying mark of the season with their first-place finish in 39.70.

Coming into this weekend's Penn Relays, the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs have combined to amass 25 NCAA Mideast Regional bids and both men's relay teams (4x100 and 4x400) have earned qualifying marks, as well. The NCAA Regional is set for May 30-31 in Fayetteville, Ark.

Following this weekend's activity, MSU will break for spring semester finals on campus next week. The teams will compete next at the 2008 Southeastern Conference Track and Field Championships that will be held on May 15-18 at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.

Live results from the Penn Relays will be available via the Mississippi State Athletics homepage at www.mstateathletics.com.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's track and field team held on to a 24th-place ranking in the latest USTFCCCA Division I poll, as released by the national organization on Wednesday.

MSU is joined by LSU (#1), Florida (#4), Auburn (#6), Tennessee (#10), Arkansas (#12), Kentucky (#21) and Georgia (#25) as the Southeastern Conference members in this week's poll.

Last weekend, MState competed at the Bulldog Limited in Athens, Ga. on the campus of the University of Georgia and collected three more NCAA qualifying marks. The performance of the weekend came from senior Jamil Hubbard, who collected his fourth individual NCAA regional mark of the season. Hubbard finished first in the 400-meter dash, running a personal-best time of 46.05 seconds. With his time, the Atlanta, Ga.-native now owns the top 400-meter dash time in the SEC and 10th in the country. Senior Chris Woods added a second NCAA regional mark in 800-meter run with his first-place time of 1:48.55. Woods' time is third in the SEC and seventh in the nation. State's 4x100-meter relay team also tallied their fifth NCAA regional qualifying mark of the season with their first-place finish in 39.70.

The Bulldogs return to competition this tomorrow, competing in the 114th annual Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Penn., starting on Thursday, April 24 at Franklin Field.


MSU Athletics
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State University assistant coordinator of facilities Don Edwards was inducted into the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges Sports Hall of Fame on Tuesday, April 22. Edwards was one of 30 individuals honored at the Thames Conference Center on the Copiah-Lincoln Community College campus in Wesson.

As a football standout at East Mississippi Community College, Edwards was named to the Wigham All-American Team as a sophomore and one of three Mississippians named to the Williamson Rating All-American team. During the campaign, he led the nation in punting and field goals and was third in total offense. Edwards also participated in the Albuquerque, N.M., All-American game. An all-State selection, he was team captain and elected the Most Valuable Player of the 1961 Lions. EMCC finished the season 8-2 and won the Hospitality Bowl.

As a freshman at EMCC, Edward finished second in the hurdles and third in the long jump and ran the anchor legs of the 4x100- and 4x200-meter relays at the state meet.

Following EMCC, Edwards spent three seasons at Mississippi State. In 1964, he became the Bulldogs' starting quarterback. Edwards threw a touchdown pass and tied as the leading rusher as MSU defeated in-state rival Mississippi 20-17 on Nov. 27, 1964, the first Bulldog victory over the Rebels in 18 seasons. He received his bachelor's degree from the university in 1965.

He was previously inducted into the East Mississippi Community College Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. Edwards is also a past president of the MSU "M" Club Alumni Association.

Married to the former Joan Luster for 42 years, the couple has three daughters - Alice Chain, Donna Guest and Emily Blalock and four grandchildren - Justin and Wyatt Blalock and Jacey and Drew Williams.

Edwards is a 1959 graduate of Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Ala.


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