News from MSU Media Relations--May 17

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

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Chelsea Bramlett and Ali Bainbridge collected three hits apiece, but Mississippi State was unable to hold Hawaii's hot bats as the Rainbow Wahine took a 9-7 win Friday afternoon in the opening round of the NCAA Tempe (Ariz.) Regional at Farrington Stadium on the Arizona State campus.

State fell to 40-21 on the season, while Hawaii improved to 39-19 on the year.

Bramlett collected three hits in five at-bats and scored a run, while Bainbridge drove in two runs while scoring once on a 3-for-4 evening.

Senior Hayle Guess notched a pair of hits and scored twice, and Courtney Nesbit contributed a couple of hits as well. Nakita Boyce went 2-for-3 with a run, while Sammie Jo Bailey hit her third home run of the season.

State took a 1-0 first-inning lead after stifling a Hawaii threat in the opening half of the frame. Boyce led off with a walk, and Bramlett dropped a bunt single down the third base line. Guess moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, and Courtney Bures scored Boyce with a sacrifice fly to right field.

The Rainbow Wahine answered right back to tie the game with a two-out Richie-Anne Titcomb home run down the left field line. State regained the lead in the bottom of the second as Bailey blasted her third home run of the season, a solo shot over the wall in left field.

MSU extended the cushion to 4-1 with a pair of runs in the home half of the third. Guess led off with a single, stole second and scored on a Bainbridge base hit. Bainbridge moved to third as the throw to the plate bounced away from UH catcher Katie Grimes, and she scored on Jessie Bailey's single up the middle.

Hawaii rallied with a four-run fourth behind a two-run home run from Valana Manuma and a two-run double by Kaulana Gould. The Rainbow Wahine's four-run burst chased MSU starter Misty Flesher from the game after she allowed five runs on six hits with a strikeout. Kelsey Nurnberg gave up three runs on four hits over two innings to take the loss and fall to 17-10 on the year. Elizabeth Woolven tossed the final inning, allowing a run on three hits.

The Rainbows extended the lead to 6-4 with another run in the sixth, but the Bulldogs rallied with three of their own in the home half of the sixth inning.

"We did a nice job at the plate today," MState head coach Jay Miller said. "We just couldn't hold them back offensively and couldn't keep the ball in the park. We didn't do a good job in the circle tonight, especially in relief. I was really proud of the way our team fought back. Hopefully we can come out really strong tomorrow."

Brittany Bell led off the inning with a single, and with one out, Bramlett landed her third hit of the game, a bunt to third base. Guess followed with a base hit through the left side to load the bases, and Bures cut the UH lead to 6-5 with a single to right field. Hawaii right fielder Tanisha Milca tried to throw Bures out at first, but the ball skipped to the backstop, allowing Bramlett to score and knot the game at six apiece. Bainbridge gave the Bulldogs the 7-6 lead with her line drive to right that scored Guess.

The Bulldogs couldn't hold the lead, however, as UH got a home run from Kate Robinson, an RBI single from Titcomb and a run-scoring double from Audrey Andrade to cap the 9-7 victory.

Hawaii's seventh-inning rally gave Jessica Morton her eight win of the season. Morton allowed three hits over the final inning and two-thirds in relief of starter Kate Robinson who allowed seven runs, six earned, on 13 hits with six strikeouts in five and a third innings.

MSU will face the either Stony Brook or sixth-seeded host Arizona State in an elimination game Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CST.

Track & Field
AUBURN, Ala. - Mississippi State junior Marrissa Harris scored an automatic national qualifying and school-record 5,600 points to win the heptathlon at the 2008 Southeastern Conference Track and Field Championships. Harris becomes the fourth Lady Bulldog to win an outdoor title and the first in the combined events.

"It means a lot to me to win this," Harris said. "I've been so close for the past two years. It's a great boost for me and our team. We've started the weekend off very well."

Harris took second in the day's first event – the long jump leaping 20 feet, one inch and finished third in the javelin (114-03).

LaQuinta Aaron finished fourth, scoring a provisional national qualifying 5,174 points, good for third on the all-time list. Aaron set a personal-best in the 800-meter run, crossing in 2 minutes, 28.75 seconds to finish sixth. She also took sixth in the long jump.

State's Bridgett Rose just missed scoring in her first heptathlon with 4,522 points to finish 10th. State's Dorothy Youmans finished 12th despite being hampered by injuries for much of the season.

In the decathlon, State took the sixth, seventh and eighth positions. Senior Joseph Queen scored a personal-best 6,775 points to finish as the team's top finisher. Darryl Brady finished seventh and also tallied a new personal record with 6,651 points. Martin Lee (6,641) finished eighth in his first decathlon. Queen tied for second in the pole vault competition, clearing 15-03.

Brady tallied a personal best in the day's first event, running 16.82 in the 110-meter hurdles. He also set a new personal mark in the discus throw, finishing fifth (125-07). Competing in his first decathlon, Lee set personal records in the discus throw (139-05, third) and pole vault.

The only other finals contested on Friday were those in the 10,000-meter run. On the women's side, freshman Simone Domingue ran her in first 10,000-meter race in 37:03.51 to finish 11th. State's Robert Scribner (30:20.10) also finished 11th on the men's side and Ashenafi Arega (30:52.07) recorded a personal best with his 12th place finish.

Friday also marked the start of preliminary qualifying for the remainder of the weekend. Both Bulldogs competing in the men's 800-meter preliminaries advanced to Sunday evening's final. Chris Woods posted the top qualifying time in the event, running a regional qualifying 1:48.47 and Golden Coachman qualified with a time of 1:50.09, also a regional mark.

In the men's 200-meter dash qualifying round, John Bailey advanced after finishing seventh with a regional qualifying and personal best time of 21.00. Jamil Hubbard ran a regional qualifying time of 21.33 but finished 10th. Both Emmanuel Mayers (51.57, seventh and personal best) and Kyle Roberts (51.71, eighth) ran regional qualifying times and qualified for Sunday evening's 400-meter hurdles final.

State's Diamond Marks set a personal best in the women's 800-meter preliminaries but did not advance.

"The multi-events did a great job today," said MSU head coach Al Schmidt. "The 10,000-meter runners ran well, but just not good enough to score. We did well with Bailey, Roberts, Mayers, Coachman and Woods qualifying in their events. We're where we needed to be after this round of preliminaries and have more tomorrow."

Action resumes at 12:30 p.m. CT from the Hutsell-Rosen Track on the University of Auburn campus.

Men's Golf
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The Mississippi State men's golf team remained among the NCAA East Regional's top five teams Friday, as they fired a 282 in the second round at the Council Fire Golf Club in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Bulldogs are in fifth place with a 32-hole score of 560 and stand just two shots back of third. The 560 is State's best 36-hole team score this season.

"We had another nice day today," said MSU head coach Clay Homan. "At one point during the day, we were 6-under for the round, but dropped several shots on the last hole. However, we are still in good shape heading into the final round and we just have to keep playing well. I would imagine we have to have another round under par to be safe and our goal is to keep looking forward and finish as high as we can."

Junior Noah Goldman shot a 70 on Friday to move to 4-under par for the tournament. The Longwood, Fla., native is tied for 13th place heading into Saturday's final round. State's first-round leader Josh Bevell is tied for 16th after a 73 on Friday. Bevell has a 139 after carding a 66 on Thursday. Senior Josh Oller fired an even-par 71 in the second round and stands in a tie for 36th with a 141. MSU's best round of the day came from junior Matt Fast who had a 68 as he jumped to a tie for 49th on the leaderboard. Carlos Sainz shot a 73 on Friday and is in a tie for 89th with a 147.

Top-ranked Georgia extended its team lead as they fired a 271 on Friday to take the lead by 19 strokes. Augusta State remained second while Auburn, UC Irvine and MSU rounded out the top five. The day's best round belonged to UAB's Zach Sucher who shot a 62 in his second round. Sucher stands at 11-under par and leads by two strokes in the individual competition.

MSU will begin its final round with a 6:18 a.m. CT tee time on hole #10. State will be looking to finish in the top-10 which would propel the team to the NCAA Championships for the third time in school history. The NCAA Championship will be held May 28-30 at the Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Indiana.

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