News from MSU Media Relations--April 27

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

Track & Field
PHILADELPHIA, Penn. - The Mississippi State men's 4x200-meter relay had the highest finish of the MSU relay teams with their third place finish with a time of one minute, 23.79 in the Championship of America division at the Penn Relays on Saturday, April 26 at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Penn.

The relay team of sophomore Kendall May, senior Jamil Hubbard, junior John Bailey and freshman O'Neal Wilder had the highest Southeastern Conference finish in the race behind Tennessee, who won the race with a time of 1:22.20.

In the men's 4x400-meter relay Championship of America race, the foursome of Bailey, Hubbard, senior Chris Woods and Wilder took home fourth place with their NCAA regional qualifying time of 3:09.03.

Juniors Gabrielle Dillon and Priscilla Gaines, sophomore Bridgett Rose and junior Marrissa Harris ran in the Championship of America 4x200-meter relay, finishing the race in 1:38.09 to take eighth place.

In the 4xmile relay Championship of America race, freshmen Matthew Cameron and Ben Blakenship and seniors Golden Coachman and Brandon Smith finished in the top 10 of the event, carding a time of 16:42.77.

Harris also battled in the 100-meter hurdles, picking up her third NCAA regional qualifying mark with a time of 13.76.

"We did really well," said MSU Head Coach Al Schmidt. "We finished off a great meet. We ran a lot of races. We placed third in the 4x200 and that's about what we thought we would finish. That put us in the top half of the country in the relay races. There were a lot of races ran and just not enough soldiers. The men and women ran an excellent meet. It got cold and it was probably in the 40's by the time we finished. We had a great meet and there is no way around that."

The Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs return to action Saturday, May 3, competing in the Mississippi Open in Oxford, Miss. on the campus of University of Mississippi.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Ali Bainbridge's two-run walk-off single with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning gave No. 23 Mississippi State a 2-1 upset victory over 10th-ranked Tennessee in the opening game of a Southeastern Conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon at the MSU Softball Field. With the win, MSU (39-17, 12-12 SEC) secured a spot in the 2008 Southeastern Conference Tournament which will be played in Baton Rouge in two weeks.

Tennessee came back in the nightcap to claim an 8-6 win and force a rubber game Sunday at 1 p.m.

Bainbridge's game-winning base hit highlighted a 4-for-8 afternoon for the Vestavia Hills, Ala., native in which she also scored twice in addition to her pair of RBI.

Playing her final series in front of the home crowd, senior Hayle Guess hit her sixth home run of the season, matching her career season high, as she capped a 3-for-4, two RBI day for the Bulldogs (39-17, 12-12 SEC).

Trailing 1-0 after a sixth-inning UT base hit in the day's opening game, which was delayed for two hours by heavy rains in the Starkville area, Lindsay Hunley reached on a fielder's choice that retired Brittany Bell. Nakita Boyce then beat out a bunt, and Bramlett loaded the bases with a ground ball through the left side. Bainbridge then hit a hard ground ball up the middle that deflected off UT pitcher Ashton Ward's glove and went into center field to score Hunley and Boyce with the deciding pair of runs.

The walk-off single moved State starter Misty Flesher to 19-7 on the year. Flesher picked up her sixth win in as many decisions as she allowed a run on five hits with three strikeouts.

"Ali's hit was big for us," MSU head coach Jay Miller said. "Our team did a great job of fighting and never giving up. Misty pitched threw really well today and gave us a chance to win the game."

Ward suffered the loss as she allowed the two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts in the opener. The Lady Vols rookie came back in the second game and held off the Bulldogs for the final six and a third to earn the win and move to 27-4 on the season.

MSU came out hot early, scoring twice in the bottom of the first to chase UT starter Megan Rhodes from the game after just two-thirds of an inning. Bainbridge picked up where she left off in the opener, lining a one-out single to center field. Courtney Bures, who went 3-for-4 in the second game, reached on a single to third base and Guess walked to load the bases. Following a strikeout, Courtney Nesbit, who was pinch-hitting for Jessie Bailey after she was hit in the face by a foul ball, hit a sharp ground ball to short, but a diving Kenora Posey was unable to make a play, scoring Bainbridge to put MState on top 1-0. The Bulldogs extended the lead to 2-0 as Bell was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score Bures.

After Tennessee took a three-run lead behind a five-run third inning, State cut into the edge with Guess' one-out home run over the wall in left field.

UT extended the lead back to three runs with a Shannon Doepking double in the fourth, but State once again answered, plating two runs in the bottom of the fifth to trim Tennessee's lead to a single run. Bainbridge kicked the frame off once again, delivering a one-out single through the left side. She advanced to second on a wild pitch, took third on a Bures single up the middle and scored on a wild pitch to cut the Lady Vols' lead to 6-4.

Bures, who advanced to third on a wild pitch, made it a 6-5 game as she scored on a Guess single to center field. The Lady Vols nudged the lead back to three runs with two seventh-inning runs on an Erin Webb home run and a Tonya Callahan sacrifice fly, but the Bulldogs weren't done fighting.

Bures kept MSU's rally chances alive with a one-out single to center. Guess then drew a walk and Bures scored on a Sammie Jo Bailey line-drive base hit to center field. Ward, however, got a strikeout and a pop-out to end the game and take UT to 46-10, 14-9 in league play.

"We did a nice job of battling and fighting in the second game, but we weren't able to hold them," Miller said. "The seventh inning was the big difference because we had to try and come back from a three-run deficit instead of a single run. Give Tennessee credit because they did what they had to do, and we had opportunities that we let slip away. We have a chance to win the series tomorrow, and that is what we wanted. That is a big step for us as a team, and we just have to come out strong tomorrow."

Kelsey Nurnberg took the loss in game two to fall to 16-9 on the year. Nurnberg allowed five runs, four earned, on five hits over two and a third innings. Elizabeth Woolven tossed the final four and two-thirds, giving up three runs on nine hits with three strikeouts.

Sunday's rubber game is set for 1 p.m. and will be broadcast live on WMSV 91.1 and online at State will honor seniors Megan Bateman, Nakita Boyce, Lindsay Hunley, Courtney Bures and Hayle Guess prior to Sunday's first pitch. Admission to all MSU home softball games is free.

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