News from MSU Media Relations--September 27

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

STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State softball team looks to build on a perfect start to fall action as it hosts tournament action Saturday and Sunday at the MSU Softball Field.

The Bulldogs will face Mississippi Valley State and Hinds Community College on Saturday at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively. On Sunday, State will meet Jones Junior College at 1 p.m. and West Alabama at 3 p.m. Saturday's action gets underway at 1 p.m. with Hinds and the Delta Devilettes facing each other. West Alabama and Jones kick off Sunday's play at 11 a.m. Admission to all home Bulldog softball games is free.

Head coach Jay Miller's squad opened fall action last Sunday with 2-1 wins over Marion Military Institute and Wallace State-Hanceville. Saturday's scheduled slate of games was cancelled by heavy rain that engulfed Starkville late Friday into early Saturday.

Freshman Ka'ili Smith paced the Bulldog offense in her collegiate debut, going 3-for-5 (.600) at the plate with the game-winning RBI in MState's win over Marion. Senior Sammie Jo Bailey also turned in a stellar day at the plate, hitting .500 (3-for-6) with a double.

In the circle, sophomore Elizabeth Woolven and freshman Lindsey Dunlap picked up victories. Woolven, a Nettleton, Miss., native, tossed four innings, allowing an unearned run with three strikeouts. A Hueytown, Ala., product, Dunlap allowed a run on four hits and struck out seven over five innings. Senior Kelsey Nurnberg (Ankeny, Iowa) threw five shutout innings, allowing a hit and striking out nine.

Following this weekend's action, the Bulldogs close out the fall slate with a Tues., Oct. 14 doubleheader with Shelton State Community College at the MSU Softball Field. First pitch for that twin bill is set for 4 p.m.

Men's Golf
FRANKLIN, Tenn. - The Mississippi State men's golf team stands in 10th place after one round of play in the Mason Rudolph Invitational at the par-71 South Course at Legends Club. As a team, the Bulldogs notched a 291, 7-over-par round in Friday's opening round.

MState was led by senior Carlos Sainz, Jr., who is tied for 11th after his 1-under par (70) performance in round one. Redshirt freshman Lee Heaton trails Sainz, Jr. by one stroke through the first round and is in an eight-way tie for 16th place. Senior Josh Bevell was 3-over par in his first action of the 2008-09 season. Fellow seniors Noah Goldman and Matt Fast rounded out the Bulldog lineup with scores of 5 and 7-over-par, respectively.

South Carolina fired a 3-under-par 281 to capture the lead after day one. Host Vanderbilt sits two shots back with a 1-under-par 283. Arkansas State posted an even-par 284 and Kentucky shot a 1-over-par 285 to round out the top-4.

Day two of the tournament will begin play at 8 a.m. CT Saturday morning. Live stats can be found at

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Senior Mariclaire Fancher scored the first goal of her career to give the Mississippi State soccer team an early1-0 lead Friday night, but the Bulldogs couldn't maintain the advantage as they dropped a hard-fought 4-1 decision to ninth-ranked LSU at the MSU Soccer Field in the conference opener for both squads.

Fancher's goal came in the 20th minute as Bethany Frazier delivered a pass to the right side of the box. The Greenwood, Miss., native moved past her defender and beat LSU goalkeeper Mo Isom for the 1-0 Bulldog lead. The goal was just the third given up by the Tigers this season.

State's defense put together a stellar performance for the opening 45 minutes, holding the Tigers off the scoreboard until the final 30 seconds of the opening half. At the 44:21 mark, Malorie Rutledge drew a foul, and on the ensuing free kick, lined the tying goal past Taryn Holland into the top of the net.

"I thought we played very well in the first half. We lost our defensive discipline in the second half, and it cost us," MSU head coach Neil Macdonald said. "Give a lot of credit to LSU for the way they fought back when the pressure was on them."

The Tigers, who improved to 7-0 and 1-0 in SEC play, out-shot MState (5-5, 0-1 SEC) 29-5 in the contest. Holland, a Franklin, Tenn., native, matched her season high with nine saves on the night.

LSU took the lead at the 57:38 mark as Rachel Yepez scored the first of her two goals off a ball that deflected off Holland's hands. Melissa Clarke added the final goal for the Tigers in the 78th minute.

State returns to the pitch Sunday, taking on Arkansas in a match that is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff at the MSU Soccer Field.

Women's Tennis
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Mississippi State's Lady Bulldog netters completed their first day of action at the Roberta Alison Fall Classic Friday with two doubles teams advancing to the finals of their respective draws and five singles players picking up victories.

With action starting Friday morning, MSU picked up two early wins in the opening round of doubles, as the State team of Elna de Villiers and Valeriya Makarycheva defeated the UNC-Charlotte pair of Koren Fleming and Gabi Vergara 8-4 in the White Bracket. The other MSU tandem of Radka Ferancova and freshman Natalia Mayuk defeated the Rebecca Kirven and Shannon Hartmann pair from Samford handily, 8-1 in the Gold Bracket.

After a brief break, both duos were once again impressive, as both put together gritty performances to advance to their respective brackets' finals on Saturday. De Villiers and Makarycheva ousted the Samford pair of Andrie Meiring and Stephanie Parkinson 8-5, while the State duo of Ferancova and Mayuk outlasted the Lindsey Wiseman and Amanda Brown pair from Memphis, 9-7.

In other doubles action, the MSU tandem of Martina Banikova and Olesya Tsgivintseva lost two matches and will play in the seventh place match of the Crimson Bracket on Saturday. Meanwhile, after losing their first match, the duo of Elizabeth Hall and Jordan Zachary rebounded with a victory over the pair of Alexis Webb and Ashley Pierson from Murray State 8-5 in the Silver Bracket and will play for fifth place in that draw.

In singles, five of the eight competing MSU players picked up victories on the opening day. Veterans Banikova, De Villiers, and Ferancova each won in straight sets. Banikova defeated Meiring of Samford 6-3, 7-5, while de Villiers picked up the victory over Samford counterpart Lindsey Mallory 6-3, 7-6(9). Ferancova ousted another Samford player in Parkinson 6-2, 6-3.

Also, having an impressive day were two State freshmen newcomers, Tsigvintseva and Mayuk, who each picked up wins. Tsigvintseva defeated Yudeshnee Pillay of UNC Charlotte in a tough three-set battle 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, while Mayuk picked up a victory against Tennessee Tech's Katie Barnhill 6-0, 6-1.

Looking to build on their Friday performances, the Lady Bulldogs will be back in action Saturday for the second day of the three-day event.

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