News from MSU Media Relations--September 22

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Men's Tennis, Soccer and Softball.

Men's Tennis
ATHENS, Ga. - The Mississippi State doubles tandem of junior Chris Doerr and sophomore Tanner Stump have reached the finals in Division II doubles at the Southern Intercollegiate Championships.

On Sunday afternoon, the Bulldog duo defeated Elltiot Potvin and Austin Roebeck of Georgia Tech 8-6 in the semifinals after moving past the quarterfinals when Carlos Salmon and Joost Vogel of Wake Forest defaulted their match.

Doerr and Stump will compete on Monday at Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex for the Division II doubles crown. Their opponent will not be determined until Monday, as the other semifinal will be contested then.

In singles action Sunday, MState's lone senior, Ryan Farlow, was in action, dropping his second-round match in the Division I consolation bracket to South Florida's Wael Kilani, 6-3, 6-4. Also in singles play was Doerr, who slipped up in his Division II consolation round-two match against Kiril Dimitrov of Duke, 6-2, 6-2.

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Mississippi State soccer team closed out the non-conference slate on a high note Sunday afternoon as it rallied for a 2-1 win over Southern Mississippi at the Southern Miss Soccer Complex in Hattiesburg.

The Bulldogs got first-half goals from freshman Tarah Henderson and junior Heather Buttrey, and it would be all the offense the Dogs would need as the defense made a number of stops in improving the team to 5-4 on the year. USM fell to 4-3-1 on the year with the loss.

"We started slow and gave up the early goal," MState head coach Neil Macdonald said. "But I was very proud of the way we fought back and converted a pair of opportunities to take the lead at halftime. Our defense made some big plays, especially in the second half, and we came away with a hard-fought victory in a very tough place to play. This is a huge win as we get ready to start conference play."

State was out-shot on the afternoon 21-12, but only seven of the Golden Eagles' shots came on goal. Junior goalkeeper Taryn Holland was stellar down the stretch, finishing the afternoon with six stops.

After falling behind 1-0 on Sarah McFadden's score in the 14th minute, the Bulldogs found their offensive rhythm in the 33rd minute and put together an impressive scoring run to knot the game at a goal apiece.

State worked the ball into the USM end of the field and found junior Katelyn Graben just outside the box. The Gulfport native punched a pass past a Golden Eagle defender to freshman Tarah Henderson, and the Martinez, Ga., native deposited her third goal of the season into the net.

MSU took its first lead, one that it would not give up, just seven minutes later. Senior Meredith Jacboson headed a ball to junior Heather Buttrey, and the Charlotte, N.C., native slipped past her defender and beat USM goalkeeper Holly Cox for her first goal of the campaign.

State converted its two goals on only four shots in the opening half, but the offense found its life in the second half, tallying eight shot opportunities. Although the Bulldogs missed out on a couple of on-goal opportunities, the defense made some key plays to preserve the lead.

The Bulldogs return home to host a pair of SEC Western Division foes for the opening weekend of conference action. State takes on LSU on Friday at 7 p.m. before challenging Arkansas on Sunday in a 1 p.m. kickoff at the MSU Soccer Field. Admission to all Mississippi State home soccer matches is free.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State won pair of 2-1 decisions in fall softball action Sunday afternoon at the MSU Softball Field. In their fall schedule opener, MSU rallied from a 1-0 deficit in the sixth inning to defeat Marion Military Institute 2-1. In Sunday's final game, the Bulldogs defeated defending junior college national champion Wallace State Community College by a 2-1 count.

Ironically, the other game played Sunday also had a 2-1 final with Wallace State homering twice to take down Marion in that contest. The two-day tournament was reduced to Sunday's slate due to heavy rains in the Starkville area late Friday and early Saturday.

In MSU's opener, the Bulldogs pounded out nine hits but could not punch through on the scoreboard until the sixth inning. Brittany Gates started things with a one-out bunt single on the infield. Chelsea Bramlett followed with a double down the left field line, and Allie Heon delivered the tying run on an infield bunt single. The hosts could not grab the lead though, stranding runners at second and third base.

An inning later, Ka'ili Smith lined a single to left field, plating Courtney Nesbit with the winning run. Nesbit led off the seventh inning with a double. After a Jessie Spain sacrifice bunt and lineout, Smith followed with her two-out game-winner.

Kelsey Nurnberg threw the first six innings for MSU, allowing two hits and one run (earned), with one walk and 10 strikeouts. Elizabeth Woolven retired the side in order in the seventh inning to garner the win.

For Marion, its lone run came in the sixth inning. Dianna Montero began the inning with an infield hit and took second base on a bad throw following the hit. Montero then later scored on back-to-back illegal pitches.

Caitlin Houk went the distance for Marion. Houk worked 6-2/3 innings, allowing nine hits and two runs (both earned), with one strikeout and no walks.

Brittany Bell and Smith had multiple hits for the Bulldogs.

In its second game, MSU scored twice in the fourth inning, to again erase a 1-0 deficit.

In the decisive fourth inning, Laurie Siebert and Gates began things with back-to-back walks. Bramlett advanced the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. An RBI-groundout by Heon plated the game-tying run. Gates then scored on an illegal pitch to place the hosts ahead for good.

Wallace State grabbed its 1-0 lead by also scoring in the fourth inning. Stephanie Needham hit her second home run of the afternoon, a towering shot to left-center.

Lindsey Dunlap pitched five innings to earn the win for MSU. Dunlap allowed four hits and one run (earned), with seven strikeouts and no walks. Woolven pitched the final two innings to record a save.

For Wallace State, Kelsey Dennis took the loss in middle relief. Dennis pitched four innings, allowing two hits and two runs (both earned), with three walks and one strikeout. Kristen Skinner started the contest, while Kaylea Brewer pitched a perfect final inning.

Each team finished with five hits. For MSU, Sammie Jo Bailey had three hits, including a double.

In the opener, Needham and Ashley Smith each hit home runs as Wallace State took a 2-1 victory over Marion.

The Bulldogs resume fall softball action with another tournament next Saturday and Sunday at the MSU Softball Field. The Bulldogs will play Mississippi Valley State at 3 p.m. Saturday and Hinds Community College at 5 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday, MSU plays Jones Junior College at 1 p.m. and the University of West Alabama at 3 p.m.

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